Carly Smith signs with Shorter

Among those on hand to watch LaFayette graduate Carly Smith (third from right) sign on to cheer for Shorter University were grandfather Skip Torok, aunt Emily Hicks, mother Sarah Smith, LaFayette cheer coach Nicole Harris and Shorter cheer coach Jason Stockton.

Talk to Carly Smith for just a couple of minutes and the first thing you notice, simply by the sound of her voice, is her positivity.

That positive personality is a big part of who Smith is and the recent LaFayette graduate was recognized by Positive Athlete Georgia as the Most Positive Cheerleader in the northwest Georgia region in 2020, which includes a number of counties in this corner of the state.

It’s that same positive personality that will benefit her next fall when she begins her college cheerleading career at Shorter University in Rome.

Smith signed with the Hawks just hours before walking across the stage and getting her diploma at LaFayette High School.

“I’ve always loved cheering and I had my heart set on Kennesaw State,” she explained. “But when I didn’t make the team, the Shorter coach reached out to me and asked if I wanted to try out and I made the team right after my tryout.

“I truly believe that God has big plans for me at Shorter.”

Smith said she will be a part of the all-girl intermediate team and the spirit team at Shorter.

“I met Shorter’s coach at her signing and he was just very excited about her communication skills and leadership qualities,” LaFayette head coach Nicole Harris explained. “He thinks she’ll help, not just with the cheerleading program, but with campus life and everything else.”

Harris said Smith is best described by the word “dedicated”.

“She is willing to give everything,” Harris continued. “She’ll be very devoted to the program. She’s a team player, for sure, and she’s one of those you want on your team. She’s willing to sacrifice and do what needs to be done for the team and she’ll work hard. Her work ethic is great.

“Dedication, team player and hard work, all those things just stick out when I think about Carly.”

Smith, who said she has been cheerleading her whole life, is the third cheer athlete from the Catoosa-Walker County area to sign with the Hawks this spring, joining two more recent graduates — Juleigha Boynton (LFO) and Hana Williams (Gordon Lee).

“I love how everybody there has just great personality and they all love Jesus, so we’ll get to cheer for Jesus,” Smith said of her future school. “I love the campus and I’m just really excited. I think that I’m a leader. I think I’ll be able to be a spokesperson for the team and just try to keep everybody positive.”

Harris said Smith also led by her actions and by her dedication to improving at her sport.

“She pushes herself and continues to push in her tumbling skills,” she added. “She has kind of stepped out of the box to become a better flyer because she was new to flying for us as a senior, and she is continuing to work on those skills to get better.”

Smith said she plans to major in communications and public relations with a minor in political science and hopes to have a future in politics.

Scott Herpst is sports editor for the Walker County Messenger in LaFayette, Ga., and Catoosa County News in Ringgold, Ga.

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