Sprouting wings and soaring to the Summit

Posted in: Society
By Kaye Collier
Apr 10, 2013 - 5:28:14 PM

Meagan MorristonWhen the pretty little fifth-grader enrolled at the cheerleading gym last October, she may have envisioned becoming an integral part of a cheer team. . .eventually. However, her amazing progress toward this end has been pretty heady.
When the coaches at Xtreme Thunder gym in Duncan noted the girl’s tumbling skills and trainability, they almost immediately placed Meagan Morriston of Marlow on their elite senior-4.2 team as a flyer.
Now, the spunky girl is headed to Orlando, Florida, where on May 4 and 5, she will compete with her squad in the National Cheerleading Association’s Varsity Summit, an international competition being staged at Walt Disney World®.
Receiving a bid to compete at the Summit is quite an envious achievement in the world of All-Star cheerleading. Only the best of the best receive bids. Xtreme’s senior-4.2 team was invited after earning a qualifying score and placing second out of eight teams in their division at the recent NCA Nationals in Dallas.
And when the squad takes the mat on May 4 in Orlando, a 10-year-old girl from Marlow will be living a dream-come-true by being among them.
The daughter of Kelly and Brandi Morriston, Meagan has a solid background in tumbling. For two years prior to enrolling at Xtreme Thunder, she was a student at Sooner Tumbling and received coaching in both Marlow and Chickasha.
According to her mother, she brought home countless honors from competitions, including a number of gold medals, during that brief span. Meagan has even mastered the full twist, an advanced skill that is a 360-degree revolution performed in midair during a back layout. Few gymnasts accomplish this feat by the age of 10.
As a flyer, Meagan is hoisted aloft by three or four teammates, called “bases,” during stunts.
It can be pretty scary, entrusting your safety, and skeletal system, to others; and Meagan admitted that the moments she spends high above the mat are anxious ones “some or most of the time.” But she also noted, “I trust my bases a lot.” And rightfully so. They are veteran cheerleaders; three have competed in the sport for a number of years.
Despite her youth and lack of experience, the youngest member of the team has already become quite expert in such stunt positions as the liberty, the arabesque, the scorpion and the heel-stretch, as well as such dismounts as the basket toss, twisting full-down, double-down and impressive kick-full. TALENT AND TECHNIQUE
Meagan apparently possesses the magic keys—innate talent, determination and dedication—that unlock doors in the field of athletics.
“I’m a very fast learner,” she observed.
Furthermore, she and her mom spend hours at the gym every week so that Meagan can perfect her technique and practice the routine that she and her 19 fellow-teammates will perform at the Varsity Summit.
“Altogether, we’re in here (at the gym) five days a week—Sunday through Thursday,” said Brandi.
The cheerleaders, a number of parents, and the coaches will be flying to Orlando individually or in small groups. Brandi and Meagan will fly Delta Airlines to the Summit and return with American Airlines.
“I am excited to go to Walt Disney World ’cause I have never been, and I’m glad I get to go with my team,” Meagan asserted.
Off the mat
Meagan has been in the Marlow public schools since pre-K and has attained the A/B honor roll. A tall, slender brunette with blue eyes and a sprinkling of freckles, she was active in soccer and softball in the past and currently participates in the early-morning walking program at school.
Math and science are her favorite subjects. This is a good thing, since she hopes someday to become a pediatrician.
In her leisure time, Meagan channels her energies into designing paper figures using origami, writing, reading, watching movies, playing video games, bouncing on the trampoline, playing out-of-doors, and just “enjoying nature,” she said.
Her favorite book is Diary of a Wimpy Kid, and “If I get ‘caught into’ a book, I don’t want to stop reading it,” she confessed.
Meagan attends Marlow’s First Baptist Church with her family.
The Morristons are a close-knit, mutually-supportive family. Kelly is in quality control for the Ross Group, a construction company at Fort Sill; and Brandi is a part-time stylist at Tangles who devotes her after-school hours to her three daughters and their pursuits.
In addition to Meagan, the Morriston girls include eighth-grader Kelsee, who recently qualified for the Marlow High cheer squad, and Brooke, a seventh-grader on Xtreme Thunder’s junior level-2 squad who will also cheer for Marlow Middle School next year.
They share their home with three cats, an English bulldog, a miniature dachshund and a golden retriever.
“We just hope Meagan continues to grow as the beautiful person God made her, fulfilling our shared faith that through Christ all things are possible,” noted Kelly Morriston. “She has shown uncommon focus for a child her age, while still able to be such a fun-loving kid.”
“Our family and friends are very proud of Meagan, for how hard she works in everything and what she and Xtreme Thunder have done this year,” he continued. “They are a wonderful group of young people with great coaches.”