Brumfield helps bring championship to Point

Published 6:38 pm Monday, April 13, 2020

When she was in the sixth grade, Abby Brumfield was on Facebook when she saw an older friend competing in a cheerleading competition. Even though no one in her family had ever cheered before, the photos made Brumfield want to give the sport a chance. She talked with her mother about it, and the pair went to United Cheerleading in Columbus, Georgia.

Since they didn’t know the dynamics of competitive cheerleading, Brumfield and her mother talked with the owner. After a couple of hours of conversation, Brumfield signed up for tumbling classes. A few months later, she made the All-Star cheerleading team.

“From then on, I was doing All-Star three times a week, and I was doing high school cheer as well. Ever since then, my life has completely revolved around cheer,” Brumfield said. 

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While competing in All-Stars and cheering for Beulah High School, Brumfield was named a Universal Cheerleaders Association All-American twice and won the Beulah’s Varsity Bobcat Spirit, Varsity Captain’s and won the Python Allstate Coaches’ Awards. While at cheer camps, she received the “Pin It Forward”  award three times, which is given to the cheerleader that promotes leadership, spirit, commitment, kindness, and motivation.

“I started late, so I had to work extra hard to excel. The more I fell in love with [cheerleading] the better I became, not just skill-wise but also impacting people,” Brumfield said. “Just receiving those awards kept me on the right track that I was doing something right in something that I love.”

Brumfield graduated from Beulah in 2017  and continued her cheerleading career at Jacksonville State, mainly because she wanted to get away from home and explore somewhere new. 

After going through summer camp, Brumfield and the Gamecocks were ready for the first football game of the 2018 season. During the pregame, an old high school injury flared up for Brumfield. In her knee, Brumfield has osteochondritis dissecans, which forced her to dislocate her knee cap sometimes whenever she would walk. 

During a power press, a stunt where a cheerleader is lifted into the air on one leg, Brumfield’s kneecap shifted up and hit her femur, cracking her kneecap.

“As soon as we finished the rest of [pregame] we ran off, and I said something is wrong with me,” Brumfield said. “Five minutes later, it was so swollen that it was the size of my upper thigh.”

Her two options to fix her knee were either surgery or therapy. Since she would have to do therapy at some point anyway, Brumfield opted to try to do a couple of months of therapy to heal her knee. She wasn’t able to participate in the cheer practices and games, but she still had to attend the practices and games. Alongside being a fulltime student, the Gamecocks practiced six days a week, and she rehabbed three days a week.

“It was just draining, and it was aggravating because I wanted to be out there,” Brumfield said. “It started to crush everything that I had worked for. I just kind of gave it all up.”

She finished the fall semester at Jacksonville State then transferred to Southern Union. She changed majors from education to nursing as well. 

However, both plans of nursing and giving up cheerleading were short-lived. Brumfield had her first anatomy class at Southern Union and realized nursing wasn’t for her, so she changed majors again, this time to education. After graduation, she wants to become an English professor in college or a high school English teacher.

Cheerleading worked itself out as well. 

After finishing her six months of rehab on her knee, Point head coach Lara Beth Griffin offered her a spot on the Point Cheer team. 

“I said ‘well, I’m already here. I might as well do it, get my college paid for and do something that I love again,’” Brumfield said. 

The Skyhawks cheer team was a fairly new team since it had only been around since the 2013-14 season. The Skyhawks had consistently been near the bottom of the Southern States Athletic Conference throughout most of their history as well. 

“I came from a good program, so I wanted to make sure I was going into a good program,” Brumfield said. 

Brumfield joined the Skyhawks through their postseason and some of their practices. Both of those events were alright, but the team is what sold her to join the squad.

“I honestly fell in love with the people. Cheer was pushed to the side at this moment,” Brumfield said. “I’m coming in after not cheering for a year, so I’m rusty. Everyone was just so kind and encouraging. I just felt that I should be at Point.”

Brumfield joined the Skyhawks for the 2018-19 season. That team just clicked, and the Skyhawks jumped from near the bottom of the conference to finishing second. In the Regional round, they finished fourth. 

That gave some foundation for the Skyhawks to build on, and they bested their best conference finish this past season, as they won the SSAC.

“It felt amazing,” Brumfield said. “We were all so excited to be a part of that. People were crying. You would have just thought that we won the Super Bowl.”