Washington High School senior Lexi Stiffler has set her plans for the next four years of her life and she made known her college choice during a signing ceremony in the lobby of the school’s gymnasium on April 8.
With her parents on hand, as well as her cheerleading teammates and cheer coaches, Stiffler signed a letter of intent to attend Mount Vernon Nazarene University, located about an hour’s drive northeast of Columbus.
“I received a scholarship to go (to Mount Vernon) for their (cheerleading) competition team and the basketball team,” Stiffler said. “I’m one of the only freshmen to go and I’m one of the only freshmen to make their competition team.
“We will compete against other colleges,” Stiffler said. “We come up with routines (that last) about two minutes and 30 seconds. (The routine) includes five different stunts, two dances and 17 tumbling passes; probably more than that, but that’s a rough estimate.
“I also made their sideline cheer, which will be basketball season,” Stiffler said.
“I would definitely like to thank my parents,” Stiffler said. “My parents are definitely the biggest supporters I’ve had. Also, all my coaches. Tara Bivens has been amazing; Valaria Campbell. I had Amy O’Dierno for a long time and Mark Holloway. Now my coach is Gabe Peecher of Chillicothe. All of those are definitely a big part of my cheer career. And (thank you to) all of the other assistant coaches and coaches who have helped me out.”
What about a favorite subject in the classroom?
“My favorite subject would probably be Mr. (David) Penwell’s business classes,” Stiffler said. “He’s such an amazing teacher. He’s always been there for me. He actually helped me write some of my stuff for college. It’s definitely my favorite subject. I’m going to major in business administration and minor in interior design and take over the family business (Showplace Furniture Gallery in Washington C.H.). He had a big part in that and I thank him for that; he’s one of the people I love.”
“I’ve coached Lexi since she was in the seventh grade,” Washington High School cheerleading coach Tara Bivens said. “She’s a remarkable student-athlete. It’s a huge honor for Lexi to go to Mount Vernon University in cheerleading. She’s going to do comp (competitive) cheer and game-day cheer there.
“I’ve very proud of her,” Bivens said. “It’s a huge accomplishment. She’s worked very hard for this. It doesn’t happen very often that a cheerleader continues on at the college level. It’s not very common because the qualifications are very hard at the college level. You have to have specific tumbling. In a non-COVID year, you would try out in person.
“She had to submit videos of certain tumbling skills, certain stunting which we brought back last year after 25 years,” Bivens said. “There are a lot of qualifications that you need at the college level. Some colleges even require certain height and a certain weight to be a cheerleader, so, the regulations are stricter.”
Stiffler is the daughter of Christina and Rob Stiffler.