PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WMBB)– This week’s Scholar Athlete of the Week sponsored by Perry and Young P.A. is Bay’s Sydney Gay.
Gay is one of the key pieces of the Tornadoes top notch cheer squad and the team captain.
She helped lead bay to win the WCA national championship in Orlando in April, and as the back spot for her team, she plays a pivotal role.
“There’s like a trust factor in there, that like, I’m lifting someone up and they trust me with that,” Gay said. “And so, I think that’s awesome. Also it’s a team sport, like you have to rely on your teammates to like pull through for you and I think that’s great. Like it’s not just me, it’s a whole team of people.”
Gay’s leadership qualities were illuminated over two years ago, after Hurricane Michael destroyed all of bays cheer equipment.
Her head coach, Savannah Tillman, says Gay he played a big part and getting the team back on their feet.
“Really before we could even get started back in cheer, Sydney took it upon herself to email some companies to ask for donations for mats, and was able to secure us nine of the most quality mats that we could have, better than the mats we ever had before,” Tillman said.
“I emailed like every single cheer company I could think of,” Gay said. “Or like anyone that’s ever like, I don’t even know, I just like emailed a bunch of people and told the situation, I was like I’m a sophomore at Bay High School, and kind of (explained) where we were at.”
As a student at bay… Gay had a 4.7 GPA and finished as her senior class salutatorian. In the fall, she will head to the University of Georgia, where she plans to study exercise and sports science.
“Obviously, like with sports, injuries occur,” Gay said. “And so, I just wanted to be a part of that. And with the people that I’ve helped, and like helped with my friends and like me get back to the sport we love really fast, so it would be great to like carry that on.”
And after an entire childhood of blood, sweat and tears devoted to cheer, Gay has a message to all of the haters who doubt it’s validity as a sport.
“I think you should sit and watch one of our practices,” Gay said. “It’s definitely a sport. The work and effort and time that’s put into it, absolutely incredible, it’s insane.”