From the tender age of five, Hillsville’s Jordan Hagee knew what she wanted to be when she grew up – a Virginia Tech cheerleader. After 15 years of blood, sweat and even a few orange and maroon tears, the dream has become reality for the 2015 Carroll County High School graduate.
Now a junior at Virginia Tech, Hagee made her sideline debut as a Hokies’ cheerleader in the team’s home opener September 9 against Delaware. For CCHS cheerleading coach Kendall Wilson, who guided Hagee during her senior year of high school, it’s a dream come true for both of them.
“It’s been her mission her whole life. At the age of five, she told her mom, ‘I will be a Virginia Tech cheerleader when I get older,’ and apparently that is what she thought she was going to do for a job,” Wilson said. “Her mom pointed out to me that was a big deal to her, the scrunchie in her hair in the picture when she is five is the Hokie Bird. If you know Jordan and her personality and see her living her goal and her dream and doing what she loves, it just makes the coaching experience the coaches have in high school a thousand times better.”
That is admittedly not easy for Wilson, one of the most rabid fans of the University of Virginia you will find in Hokie-crazed Carroll County. But as long as Hagee is on the sidelines cheering in Lane Stadium, the Carroll coach said she is happy to put the intense rivalry aside.
“Someone asked me, ‘We know you are a true Wahoo at heart, but does this make you want to convert after seeing her?’ And I said, ‘As long as she is cheering for Virginia Tech there will be a little bit of orange and maroon in my heart, but only for her.’ I even bought a Virginia Tech hoodie and that about broke my bank account and my heart. I do want to watch her at a game. I am going to UNC-Virginia Tech game this year because I want to see her living her dream.”
Getting on the sidelines at Lane Stadium hasn’t been the easiest journey for Hagee, however. As a freshman in Blacksburg, she decided to take part in competitive cheerleading at Virginia Tech, which is different than sideline cheering, where those who make it perform at home football games. Last year as a sophomore, she tried out for the sideline cheer team but didn’t make the cut. It was almost enough to make the Carroll native give up the dream. It was also at that point where the rival UVa fan, ironically, stepped in to offer encouragement.
“She said she didn’t know if she should try out again and I said, “Don’t be 42 years old coming back to Carroll County and regretting it,’” Wilson said. “She called me before the season and said, ‘Say a prayer. I am going in for tryouts so it will need to be at least a nine-hour prayer.’ I told her she better call me that night. That night I get a picture of all the Virginia Tech uniforms that said, ‘Am I a Virginia Tech Hokie yet?’ I could have cried I was so excited for her. To see her now blossom like she has, she is still that humble Jordan. She is so humble and meek and mild, but when she is out in front of a crowd it is such a massive personality difference because she is such a performer.”
Since making the sideline cheer team, Hagee has been slaying it at Virginia Tech. Wilson took a group of four Carroll cheerleaders to a stunt clinic at VT on September 10. Out of the 25 girls on the team, Hagee was one of the few the team picked to demo stunts during the high school clinic.
“She has made it big-time, even if it is orange and maroon,” Wilson said with a big laugh. “She is one of those that always wants to do more. Even when she is hurt, she pushes through it. She apparently hurt her foot in practice the week before and everything was swollen. She wrapped it tight with tape and was good to go. She is one of those people who is dedicated to it and if she has decided she is going to do it, come hell or high water she is going to do it.”
The daughter of Gary and Kathy Hagee , Jordan said her family has always been huge fans of the Hokies. She remembers going to several Virginia Tech football games growing up, something that left a big impression on her.
“I tried other sports but cheerleading was the only thing I wanted to keep doing. My family is all Virginia Tech and that was the only place I wanted to go,” Hagee said. “Tryouts were two days – it was from 4 to 9 the first day and from 8 to pretty much all day the second. It was an exhausting weekend, but I was super excited. I was so tired and I just wanted to sleep but at the same time it is something I always wanted to accomplish, so it was all good.”
And although she has proven to be a master at pyramids, baskets and all the stunts the Virginia Tech cheerleaders do, Hagee said she has found time management to be one of the more challenging aspects of being a collegiate cheerleader. Considering the reward, even that hasn’t been too much of an obstacle.
“I am a lot busier than I have been in the past but it is super rewarding. I am enjoying myself and having so much fun this year it has been great,” Hagee said. “The coolest thing so far has been the game day experience and Enter Sandman – just being on the field at Lane Stadium is a great experience.”
Allen Worrell can be reached at (276) 779-4062 or on Twitter@AWorrellTCN