Hamilton, Montgomery play dual roles
Franklin County Times
Juniors Jakora Hamilton and Cassie Montgomery don't just share the same grade at Russellville High School – they also share a special bond.
Hamilton and Montgomery are both members of the school's varsity volleyball and cheerleading squads, and they understand the ups and downs of juggling pep rallies, practices, Friday night football, fundraising activities, team camps or clinics and weekend volleyball tournaments.
"We used to make people choose between volleyball, band and cheerleading – it was a system-wide policy," Russellville volleyball coach Charlotte Dollar said. "But the policy changed due to availability of players for those activities."
Dollar said students who choose to participate in multiple activities work with their coaches or advisers to schedule around games and practices each week.
"The general rule is competition is prioritized over practices – if Jakora and Cassie have a (cheerleading) competition or an away football game, then they'll be let out of practice. And if we have a match, then they'll miss cheerleading practice," Dollar said.
Hamilton and Montgomery didn't start high school playing on both squads – Hamilton played with the volleyball team last season for the first time, while Montgomery joined the varsity cheerleading squad for the first time last fall.
"I always had a fascination with volleyball, and then I realized I had the opportunnity to play (varsity volleyball). When I was in middle school, the football games were always scheduled the same time as the volleyball matches, so I couldn't play." said Hamilton, who plays right hitter on the volleyball team and is a base on the cheerleading squad. "I like being around the girls and playing on the right side, and I can hit right or left-handed."
Montgomery is a self-described volleyball junkie but she decided to try something different her sophomore year.
"I wish I could play volleyball year-round … someone put me up to cheerleading, and I've always wanted to try out," said Montgomery, who plays outside hitter on the volleyball team and is a base on the cheerleading squad. "I've always liked to bring people up and yell and get things going."
The 5-5 Hamilton and 5-3 Montgomery don't share many physical similarities, but they both possess a seemingly limitless energy level and are both driven to succeed.
Hamilton, a member of SADD, Junior Leadership and a candidate for the National Honor Society, has already decided to study corporate law in college and possibly try out for the world-famous Dallas Cowboys cheerleaders squad.
Montgomery is a member of Junior Leadership and Mu Alpha Theta, and also plays club volleyball and takes gymnastics lessons. Several college volleyball programs have already expressed interest in Montgomery, who would love to play pro beach volleyball in the future.
"Our personalities are so much alike, it's insane," Hamilton said. "I think being together for volleyball and cheerleading, we realized we had to be there for each other, and we've grown to be good friends."