Ledford’s Gibbons flips over Baylor
Molly Gibbons wasn’t ready to give up all-star cheerleading.
As her senior year approached, though, she didn’t see many alternatives to it ending after high school. But, through a very quick change of fortune, Gibbons, a senior at Ledford, visited Baylor University and signed to continue in acrobatics and tumbling.
“I think it’s great. I love tumbling, and it’s a skill I don’t want to lose – even when I’m older, I want to show my kids how Mom can do a blackflip,” she says with a laugh. “And it’s just interesting because it’s something new, and I like trying new things.”
Gibbons, the daughter of Debbie and Randy of Wallburg, has been involved in all-star cheerleading since her earliest years. She began hanging around her older sister’s practices when she was 3 years old and learned to tumble within the year.
She caught on quick, trained hard with her coaches — whom she calls her second parents — and fearlessly honed her skills over the years. Through middle school and high school, she cheered for her school teams as well as with her all-star teams.
She helped her middle school team win states twice and her high school team once, during her sophomore year. She also helped her all-star team, Cheer Extreme, win world championships three times.
“I guess it’s the competitive aspects. I’m really competitive — I have that nature to me. So, I really like competing,” she says of cheering. “I just really enjoy the competitive aspect because you’re pushed to do everything perfectly and execute.”
But while she wanted to continue in college, looking at attending North Carolina and N.C. State, the logistics of cheering for her school and pursuing the possibility of cheering competitively were daunting, leaving her prospects very much in the air.
“If I were to have gone to Carolina, I would cheer,” she says. “But it’s very different than all-star cheerleading that I love so much – it’s more collegiate, and I really enjoy all-star competitive cheerleading.
“So, to continue that in college I’d have to do that and do competitive cheer somewhere else, which would be really stressful. (At Baylor) I get to do it all in the same place and have all the perks of being a Division I athlete.”
Soon after applying to North Carolina, she received an invitation to visit Baylor. She met with the team, some of whom she already knew, and decided to join the Bears in a blossoming sport that combines many elements from cheerleading and gymnastics.
“It happened really fast,” says Gibbons, who wants to study pre-med health sciences and eventually become a pediatric orthopedic surgeon. “It’s really cool because it’s all the things I love about cheerleading all put into a sport.
“I’m really excited to do something new, because I’ve been cheerleading my whole life.”