By Ray Hamill — High school seniors all across the county have had to adapt this year as college recruiting and the college selection process has changed dramatically in the face of COVID-19.
Including Eureka senior Kylie Van Vleck, who found a unique way to showcase her talents this spring, on her way to being selected to the UC Santa Barbara cheerleading team.
“It was a little strange, yes,” said Van Vleck, who tried out for the team online, before a virtual interview that helped seal her place.
It almost never happened for the Eureka senior, who believed her days as a cheerleader were over after she was accepted to UC Santa Barbara, where she will major in Environmental Studies.
“I didn’t think I was going to cheer past high school,” she said. “But I came across their cheer team (online) and I made a last minute decision to try out.”
Van Vleck had to learn a particular dance and tape herself performing it at home, while also sending in video footage of her performing at Eureka High games.
And that was enough to earn her a virtual interview, where she obviously impressed enough to make the team.
Van Vleck got her start in cheerleading after moving to Eureka from the Fresno area when she was in fifth grade.
During her time cheering in the youth football cheer program and at Eureka High, she has worked closely with coach Lisa Reeves, who has had a big influence on her career.
Van Vleck added she will miss the time she spent with her teammates during her four years cheering for the Loggers.
“I’ll remember how close the Eureka High team is with each other. and how much fun we had at competitions,” the senior said.
Van Vleck says she is looking forward to the opportunity and the next chapter in her life.
“I’m real excited for the change,” she said. “I’m ready to get out and start something new.”