The apple never falls far from the tree, especially for father and son Scott and Hunter Rankin. By a case of happenstance, both ended up as cheerleaders during their college careers. Scott Rankin attended the University of North Carolina and said he decided to get involved in cheerleading during his sophomore year because of a friend’s suggestion.
“I had been real active in sports in high school. I played football, was on the tennis team and had wrestled my senior year. After my freshmen year (of college), I felt something was kind of missing,” Scott said. “A buddy of mine cheered as a freshman, we were in the same class. He said ‘Why don’t you go out?’ so I did, I made the team.”
Fast forward to 2015 and Scott’s son, Hunter, is at the University of South Carolina. Like his father, Hunter was very involved in sports during his time in high school.
“I did everything -- football, baseball, track and soccer… That’s something that I missed (in college). I was always in shape for athletics and I missed that,” the Camden High School alum said.
Hunter recalled how he was approached by a few girls while he was working out and asked if he lifted weights and if he would consider being on the USC cheerleading team.
“I didn’t think they were serious. They said I could just show up to a meeting at the end of the month to see if I liked it,” Hunter said.
He said he forgot about it, until he got an email from the coach inviting him to check things out.
Meanwhile, Scott was having a case of déjà vu when Hunter told him about being asked to join the cheerleading team.
“It was never on my radar that he would be a cheerleader … I did not suggest cheerleading to him,” Scott said.
However, he suggested Hunter give it a shot.
“I was encouraging him to do it. I told him he would have so much fun. He would get to be on the field close to the action and people would recognize him on campus. All of the exposure is neat. I told him he would make a lot of connections,” Scott said.
Hunter said he decided to check it out and ended up really enjoying it. Being on the cheerleading team requires hours of practice and weightlifting, which Hunter says he likes for the discipline.
“My experience so far has been awesome. A lot of the other guys on the team are like me. They were involved in athletics … we run, workout and lift weights,” Hunter said.
Neither Scott nor Hunter experienced any teasing about being cheerleaders.
“I think it’s a lot more accepted now. They need guys who are athletic. There wasn’t really any kind of stereotype. The guys are muscular, built and have to be in really good shape,” Scott said.
Scott said a difficult part of cheerleading, at first, was doing stunts.
“It took awhile to get used to; once I did, it worked out. That was the main thing in doing stunts with a partner -- making sure I was not going to drop her in front of thousands of people,” he said.
Scott also said he’s glad his son has found an activity he enjoys doing, and he acknowledges the irony of the situation.
“It’s just kind of funny that he is doing the same thing I did,” Scott said. “I did cheerleading for one year. I really enjoyed it. It was fun and it kind of put me back in connection with sports even though I wasn’t on the field participating I was on the field with the megaphone cheering them on.”
Hunter plans to continue with cheerleading during his senior year of college. He says he is looking forward to that as senior cheerleaders get priority for attending out of state football games. Hunter and the USC cheerleading team will compete in the National Cheerleading Association college national’s competition in Daytona Beach this spring.