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Friday, March 12, 2004
Updated: March 18, 11:47 AM ET
Q&A: Kentucky's Brittany

SportsNation

 Brittany
Brittany says Ashley Judd has what it takes.
As part of ESPN.com's Cheerleader Challenge, we set out to talk to cheerleaders around the country and find out what it's like to do their thing in front of thousands of crazy sports fans.

We recently caught up with Brittany from Kentucky who talked about her best moments as a cheerleader, the toughest stadiums to cheer at and which famous woman would make the best cheerleader.

Stayed logged onto Cheerleader Challenge for more interviews with cheerleaders around the country.

SportsNation: What is the best thing about being a cheerleader?
The unique experiences and the opportunities we receive. We get to travel to cool places, meet interesting people, and make friends that will last a lifetime.

SN: What is a typical day for a cheerleader?
We are required to work out three days a week at 10 or 11. After workouts, we attend classes throughout the day. I normally come home after class and do homework before practice at 7:30. Practice is over at 10 and most of the time, people on the team go and eat together.

SN: What is the hardest thing about being a cheerleader?
Time management. It's difficult to balance school, practices, alumni appearances, community service, games, workouts, and still manage to have a social life. However, school is definitely our number one priority.

SN: Is cheerleading a sport?
Like other sports, we practice four and five times a week, apart from cheering at games. We are required to workout, take care of our bodies by eating healthy, stay fit, and maintain a high G.P.A.

SN: Are cheerleaders athletes?
Cheerleaders are athletes because we embody every aspect of what an athlete is. We have to have strength, flexibility, endurance, coordination, balance, body control, courage, agility, determination, and a will to perfect everything we do. We have to be diverse in order to perform various tumbling skills, stunts, baskets, and pyramids.

SN: What is your most embarrassing moment as a cheerleader?
It took place at the UK-Indiana football game my freshmen year. Indiana is a big rival and the game was sold out with more than 70,000 fans. Before each game, it is a tradition for the cheerleaders to run flags across the field that spell out, Kentucky. Since we run flags in order of "rank," and I was a freshman, I got the infamous "Y." Now it should be said that the "Y" flag is popular on our team. Only freshmen are deserving of it. It's like the cherry on top of a sundae. Without the "Y"...the spell out is nothing.

At this game, we started a new tradition whereby we started to run the flags. A fraternity would run with the team on the field right behind us (emphasis on RIGHT BEHIND US). I asked the fraternity to wait for me to run before they ran, but apparently they thought I said, "Please feel free to run me over"... because, that's exactly what they did. On the 50-yard line, of the sold out game, I was wearing my crisp, white uniform when I was tripped into a graceful swan dive. I looked up only to see my team running ahead of me . . . without their cherry on top.

SN: What is your best moment as a cheerleader?
It was at the Nationals in 2003. Even though we broke our eight-year streak of consecutive wins, we were able to have a special girl from the "Make A Wish" Foundation come with us to Nationals. Her one and only wish was to hang out with the UK cheerleaders. When we lost, she accepted our second place trophy for us. It made us realize that she didn't just admire us for our talent, but more for the people we are and aspire to be. It was a bittersweet moment that I'll never forget. Thanks, Kara!

SN: What is the toughest opposing stadium to cheer at?
University of Tennessee.

SN: What is the toughest opposing arena to cheer at?
Michigan State.

SN: What is the best all-time cheer?
AHHHHH C-A-T-S! CATS, CATS, CATS!

SN: What is your least favorite cheer?
Go! Go Cats Go!

SN: Do you have professional cheerleading aspirations?
No, but I'd like to pursue a career where I can utilize the personal skills I've learned through cheerleading.

SN: What famous woman or movie star would make the best cheerleader?
Ashley Judd! Not only is she a native and graduate of Kentucky, but she embodies all of the qualities cheerleaders do: she's smart, athletic, bubbly, funny, and beautiful!

SN: What does it feel like to cheering in front of 100,000 fans?
It's like having your first crush. It's a huge rush of nervous excitement. It's an awesome feeling to know that when the crowd cheers and gets up off their feet, it's because of something you've done. I feel like I've generated my enthusiasm into the crowd. They make me want to show off stunts, tumble, and "Wow" the crowd.