CHEERLEADING: GNTC adds LaFayette's Mina Winters

Family, friends, and coaches were on hand as Mina Winters signed to join the new cheerleading squad at Georgia Northwestern earlier this week. 

Georgia Northwestern head cheerleading coach Karen Stoker continues to build a collegiate squad that should catch the attention of the competition in the debut year of the sport at the school.

LaFayette’s Mina Winters signed on to help build the foundation of GNTC’s Cats Cheer program. The soon-to-be graduate will now join high school classmate Tara Clark and Ridgeland senior Mikayla Derryberry, both of whom signed on this past month.

“I wanted to get a true taste of college life locally before taking off in a couple of years,” said Winters. “I want to do a lot of my core classes here and then go after either a veterinary or marine biology degree.”

Winters first cheered at six years of age, but began doing school competitive squad work in seventh grade.

“Cheerleading is a lot of memory work and Mina has a great capacity for that,” said Stoker. “She’s an incredible performer, an incredible flyer, and so much more. She’s extremely versatile. We’ve been blessed with some very well-rounded student-athletes in this signing class.”

LaFayette cheer coach Kim Woodard is proud of the move Winters is making, but acknowledges there will be some tough shoes to fill in the prep ranks as a result.

“Mina is a tremendous leader and someone you can always count on,” said Woodard. “Losing Mina is a big loss for us, but a big gain for Georgia Northwestern.”

The top Lady Cat at the college has played a part in the training of Winters over the past six years.

“Coach Stoker has actually been working with me forever,” said Winters. “She was my coach when I first got into the competitive side of things. She’s one of the best coaches I’ve ever had. She pushes us hard to perform at the next level and really knows how to get the most out of a squad.”

Georgia Northwestern is launching their intercollegiate cheerleading squad this fall as they will perform this first season for the college’s men’s and women’s basketball programs, which run from November through March.

The first official tryouts will take place April 27 at LaFayette High School. To arrange a tryout time and/or get more information, contact Coach Stoker at (706) 539-2519 or (423) 883-1668.

If you are interested in trying out for the college’s cheer squad, you must be a student, or planning to enroll, at GNTC for the semester of participation, possess at least a 2.0 GPA, possess good cheerleading skills, and show commitment to all team events while having an extremely positive attitude.

For more information on Bobcats Athletics at Georgia Northwestern Technical College, contact the Office of Sports Information at (706) 764-3813, through, or by e-mail to