By Nate Steis
Cheering has been a lifelong sport for Bradford alumna Brianna Goodell.
A native of Rochester, N.Y., Goodell moved to Bradford in the fourth grade, and has resided in McKean County since. During that time, she spent many years as a cheerleader for various Bradford teams.
However, her cheer career began long before she arrived in Pennsylvania.
At the age of four, she was involved in the sport; cheering for the pee-wee football teams in Salamanca with her older sisters. She was not the correct age to cheer for the league, but they made an exception which gave her a jump start in the sport.
After this stint cheering in football games, she began her competitive cheer career with All-Star cheer in Olean. This was great exposure and experience for her and her teammates, and with this organization, she won a few national championships. The team was a regular in competitions in Myrtle Beach, S.C., Ocean City, Md., Orlando, Fla. and several other major cities along the east coast. She was involved with competitive cheer until the 10th grade before focusing on high school cheer with the Bradford Owls.
To wrap up her high school cheer career, she was named a Big 30 cheerleader and was able to cheer on Pennsylvania in the Big 30 Charities Classic in August 2019. It was a great way to cap off her time with the Bradford Owl program, but she had her eyes set on collegiate cheerleading as well.
Since her sophomore year of high school, she knew she wanted to be a St. Bonaventure Bonnies cheerleader. An official visit on a school field trip was how she discovered she could make that a reality.
“I remember after that field trip, I told myself I have to get good grades, do well in cheer and get a good SAT score so I can go to Bona's,” Goodell said. “The funny thing is I really did not want to go on that field trip initially, but I went because it was a day off of school.”
The St. Bonaventure cheerleading squad is a club team that requires team members to try out each season, and Goodell was one of 20 cheerleaders who made the cut back in August of 2019 to become a Bonnies cheerleader for the 2019-2020 school year.
This year, the team has not yet decided how to conduct tryouts, but is leaning toward virtual auditions via Zoom. It is certainly not the preferred way, but it may be the best option that the program has at this point. Goodell is hopeful that the winter and spring of 2021 features St. Bonaventure basketball so she can resume the sport she loves.
For now, she is very focused on her studies and staying in good shape for when the team is allowed to start practicing.
Goodell went to college considering education as a major, but she has now decided to switch to sociology with a minor in family business. She hopes to open her own family therapy business in the Bradford area someday after completion of a masters. She is also hopeful to gain some experience in the near future at Beacon Light in Bradford to add to her tool belt. Her mother, Amanda Whitmore, works at Beacon Light and helped put the idea in her head to try to work there as an intern and possibly full-time upon graduating in a few years.
Goodell has also volunteered as a cheer coach in the Allegany, N.Y. youth football league. Being a coach has opened her eyes to wanting to become a cheer coach later in her life. Her next dream would be to coach at St. Bonaventure alongside or after her current coach Abby Bricker, a native of Port Allegany.
This story originally ran in the Bradford Era