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West Orange Times & Observer Wednesday, Jan. 26, 2022 5 months ago

ATHLETE OF THE WEEK: Jillian Myers

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The Dr. Phillips captain has been a key contributor to the Panthers' push to the state finals this season.
by: Chris Martucci Sports Editor

Jillian Myers is a senior at Dr. Phillips and a captain on the school’s competitive cheer team. Myers describes herself as someone who is all about cheer and nothing else. To her, cheer is everything. She was part of the Panthers’ state championship-winning team in 2020 as a sophomore. Now a senior and team captain, Myers has helped drive a successful 2021-22 campaign for the Panthers. The team won not only the Metro West Championship for small team tumbling division but also the FHSAA Region 2 championship Jan. 22. With that win, the team automatically qualified for the state finals.  

What do you like about going to Dr. Phillips High School? 

The cheer program; it’s my favorite thing, because they’re good here. I like the family feeling. Ever since I’ve been here, it’s always felt like a second home. The coaches are all super encouraging; the team is super close as well. 

After a disappointing ending to the 2021 season, what’s been the key for you guys so far this season? 

We’re definitely making a comeback this season. With Coach Summer (Hernandez) coming in — she’s turned us around from last season. We’re doing a lot better this season. Compared to last season, we’re more of a family. I feel like everyone cares a lot more, and people want to be here. Everyone is also more determined and getting more encouraged as we’re going along. 

What do you like the most about competitive cheer? 

Competing on the mat in front of a bunch of people is a different feeling compared to sideline cheer. Doing a routine the best you’ve ever done is a feeling you can’t describe. You’re performing for everyone and showing them what you’ve worked so hard for. It’s super fun. 

Are you looking at any colleges or have you heard from any? 

I’ve been looking at USF and FAU. USF, I like the location because it’s in Tampa, which is closer to home. My sister goes to FAU, so I’d have someone there. They’re both really good schools as well. 

Favorite movie? 

“Soul Surfer”

TV or Netflix show you’re watching now? 

“Cheer” — I’m excited to watch the new season of it. 

Any hobbies outside of cheer? 

Not really. Cheer is my life. I don’t do really anything else besides cheer. 

Favorite food? 

Mashed potatoes with no gravy. 

Disney or Universal? 

Universal. I haven’t been to Universal in a long time, but I’d say that The Hulk is my favorite ride there. 

Favorite subject in school? 

Science, especially my chemistry class. I liked my class, and I liked learning all the science involved with it. 

What do you want to major in in college? 

I would like to go into health sciences and become a physical therapist after I graduate college. 

What’s an interesting thing about you that no one would expect to know? 

I have a lot of pets, and I like to read. 

How many pets do you have? 

Five pets: three cats, a bird and a dog. I’m definitely a cat person. My cats’ names are Puff, Casper and Trevor. 

If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you want to go? 

Switzerland — it’s really pretty. I’ve seen a lot of pictures and videos of it, and it’s very pretty. I want to go there someday. 

What’s one thing you want to be remembered for after you graduate? 

I want to be remembered for always working hard, never giving up and always coming in trying to be better than I was before. I want to be remembered for always working hard and never settling for less. 

If you weren’t living in Central Florida right now, where in the United States would you want to live? 

Washington, D.C., area. I went during the fall, and it was very pretty with all the autumn colors.

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Chris Martucci was the sports editor for the West Orange Times & Observer,  Southwest Orange Observer and OrangeObserver.com. He holds a master's degree in journalism from the University of Missouri — Columbia School of Journalism, as well as a bachelor's degree in digital media...

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