Haupt competed over the weekend at Columbus State University as one of the state's Top 40 cheerleaders and was selected to fill one of the coveted Top 16 positions. All 40 cheer athletes performed a cheer routine and participated in an interview. The performance and the interview were scored by two separate panels of judges and the scores were added to a earlier resume score.
Taylor Burton, Cartersville cheerleading coach, said Haupt wooed the crowed with a routine that highlighted her tumbling and stunting abilities.
She said teammates Maddie Cravey, a sophomore, Carey Dickson, a junior, and Erin Williams, also a junior, assisted Haupt with her stunting. Before the competition, Burton worked on the Lady Purple Hurricane's interview skills and the finer points of her routine.
"Caroline is an outstanding young lady who is also an all-around great athlete," Burton said. "Academically, Caroline ranks in the top 10 percent of her class. Athletically, Caroline is a top-notch cheerleader."
Haupt said she competed against a lot of good athletes.
"All of the participants were very skilled and everyone did a great job," she said. "I enjoyed all of the routines and had no idea who would be selected for the Top 16. I feel very honored and grateful to be selected."
The Georgia Cheerleader of the Year (COTY) will be announced after state cheerleading finals in November at the Columbus Municipal Auditorium.
Also attending in support of Haupt's performance Saturday was the entire Cartersville High cheerleading squad.
Burton said she is proud of how Haupt represented herself and her school.
"Caroline's performance was so incredible," Burton said. "I kept looking at her during her performance and just thought how proud I was of her! She is an amazing young woman and I know she has an exciting life ahead of her."
Haupt is the first nominee from Cartersville High.
Burton said having a cheerleader as a finalist underscores some of the lessons taught to participants in the program.
"I really push my girls to not just be competitive cheerleaders, but to be competitive in all aspects of their life," Burton said. "One day these girls are going to have a career and a family, and I want them to have that competitive hunger."
She said while Haupt is the first to win this coveted honor at the school, Cartersville has always had high expectations of its athletes.
"The Cartersville High School Cheerleading program has always been strong and we will continue the tradition," Burton said. "We look forward to a wonderful season."