Lauren Keener grew up a Mountaineers fan, but had a tough decision to make last fall when the football team took on Virginia Tech, in Landover, Md.
That’s because Keener is a cheerleader for the Hokies.
“It was very strange to say the least,” she said. “I was kind of confused who to root for in a way because I grew up a Mountaineer, but was a Hokie now. But overall, I loved every minute of that game and did not care who won in the end because they are both my teams.”
Keener also traveled to Greensboro, N.C., for the women’s basketball ACC tournament.
“Both of those experiences were amazing and fun places to cheer at,” she said.
Keener began taking tumbling classes when she was in third grade.
“I got into cheerleading because my mom told me I needed to do a sport and be involved with school activities,” she said.
“I was in sixth grade when I truly started cheer and was probably the age of 11-12.”
A Morgantown native, Keener is a 2016 graduate of Morgantown High. After graduation, she enrolled at Virginia Tech and made the cheerleading squad there.
“I knew I wanted to go away and get a different college experience and applied to a bunch of different schools and found that Tech had everything I wanted in a school,” she said. “I tried out and fortunately made it.”
Keener said cheering at Virginia Tech is very different than in high school.
“The main difference is that I have boys on my team now and only stunt with one boy rather than three other girls,” she said. “Also, cheering games is a lot different for the sole fact that there are thousands of people there watching.”
Her favorite cheering routine is the fight song.
“We have to sing our fight song every time we do it and I like that,” she said. “It shows how much spirit we truly have for the school by knowing the words.”
Even if she wasn’t into cheering, Keener would be a sports fan.
“I absolutely adore football,” she said. “It is one of my favorite sports to watch and cheer for.
“I watch a little basketball, but enjoy watching hockey more and going to those games.”
But there are two other experiences that Keener said are her favorites.
“1) getting to do fan day because not all cheerleaders get to do that and 2) being on ‘College GameDay’ and then getting to cheer V.T. on as they played Clemson,” she said. “I think those were my favorite memories because I know not everyone can experience those things and it was just an honor to do those things.”
Keener said Lane Stadium is very similar to Mountaineer Field.
“One tradition at Lane Stadium that I really enjoy and get goosebumps every time is when ‘Enter Sandman’ is played before the team runs out,” she said.
Keener also says Blacksburg is similar to Morgantown.
“Blacksburg has a similar feel, but Blacksburg has more of a country feel and doesn’t have many chains,” she said. “There are a lot of local businesses, which I like.”
Keener said her favorite thing about attending Virginia Tech is actually cheerleading.
“I am not trying to sound cliche, but my favorite part about Tech is cheerleading for sure,” she said. “All my memories and good experiences have stemmed from cheer.”
In her spare time, Keener enjoys working out, going to Target and TJ Maxx, or just chilling.
“I don’t have much free time, so if I do, I try and utilize it as much as possible doing things that I enjoy doing,” she said.
Keener is studying human nutrition, foods and exercise. She plans to be a personal trainer.