Hanging court side for a Rutland Hurricanes basketball game can be exciting for some, but for Merri-cLaire Lee, it's not only fun it's her job.
"Getting to help the athletes get pumped up and getting them to do their best while encouraging them", says Lee.
Merri-cLair says she enjoys cheering during basketball season but says football is also her favorite, especially since she's learned more about the game.
"After 3 years I still didnt get it," explains Lee. "Until this year when I played Powder Puff as a junior. My coach was a football player and he broke it down and explained the position and I finally got what we were talking about in our cheers."
The junior has been cheering since the age of 3 and works hard to dismiss the stereotype that cheerleaders aren't top students.
The honor student continues, "I don't want to be known as the cheerleader that wasn't smart. We are all very intelligent, and most of us are in the gifted program. So we keep high GPAs, that way we can say not only are we cheerleaders but we are active in our community too."
Her coach and former teacher, Veronica Christian agrees, "She's a great co-captain. She always knows what's going on. She's the one that texts the girls, don't forget to bring. She's just the perfect organizer the combination of academics and athletics put into one person."
So on any game day, Lee and her squad help to motivate the fans and rally the team to victory, and understand they have a very important.
"Usually we do take a little credit," says Lee. "Cause when the boys are winning or tied. We're thinking if we get the crowd going and cheering then the team will win and most of the time they do."
And for her efforts on the sidelines and in the classroom, Merri-cLaire Lee is our Athlete of the Week.