Student Athlete of the Week: St. Martin’s Sophie Whitehead
For cheerleader Sophie Whitehead, being a Yellowjacket is a family affair. Her dad, Eddie Wayne Whitehead, is the head football coach. Her brother, Easton, was a football and basketball star at St. Martin, and her mom works for the school.
In her final year sporting the blue and gold, Whitehead is soaking up every second on the sidelines while also preparing for life as a St. Martin alum.
“That’s what I’ll miss the most… is just doing everything with my parents right there. It’s our whole life. It’s St. Martin.” Senior Cheer Captain Sophie Whitehead has been rallying Yellowjacket fans and helping cheer on St. Martin sports teams since the fourth grade.
Quickly toe touches and spiriting became a way of life for Whitehead and she began cheering competitively at Gem of Champions as a part of their All-Star team. “My whole life revolves around it. And I work at a cheer gym too. I work where I compete.”
In addition to cheering year-round, Whitehead has been powerlifting since the eighth grade. This past season, she set a personal record, squatting 285. “It builds my muscles to help me– like my leg muscles and my arms to pick up the girls in base and tumble! Because you need leg power to tumble.”
The senior is also a heavy lifter when it comes to the classroom. Whitehead has already scored a 29 on her ACT and is aiming to raise her score, partly due to some sibling rivalry with her older brother Easton. “My brother got a 30, so I’m trying to get a 31. He’s my biggest competitor in life.”
Whitehead grew up on the sidelines of St. Martin high football games after her dad took the job as the head coach when she was in elementary school. Since then, she’s taken on the identity of the coach’s daughter. “It’s got pros and cons, but I definitely enjoy like living the football coach’s daughter life. It’s a fun experience. It’s really helped with cheer a lot because I’m understanding and I can tell what’s going on with the games and which cheers need to be going on. It’s also a struggle because I know what’s happening on the field but I can’t see it.”
While Whitehead already has her sights set on joining her brother at Mississippi State and pursuing a degree in secondary education next year, she’s still soaking up her last few moments on the sidelines of Joe Barlow Stadium. “Cheering on Friday nights and like all that stuff– I think that’s what I’m going to miss the most. It’s just like cheering for my dad.”
To nominate someone you believe deserves to be featured as News 25’s Student Athlete of the Week, please reach out to Grace Boyles through email (firstname.lastname@example.org), Facebook (@GraceBBoyles), and Twitter (@GraceBBoyles).
Nominees can participate in any sport and be any age. Make sure to tune in every Wednesday to see which local athlete we spotlight next.