BOILING SPRINGS, NC – Kelsie Burke of Port St. Joe recently signed her National Letter of Intent to be a cheerleader at Gardner-Webb University. She will enroll at the private, Christian university this fall as a member of the Class of 2023.

Burke, the daughter of Wes and Katie Burke of Port St. Joe, is a former student-athlete at Port St. Joe High School, graduating from Florida Virtual School in May 2019.

She is a two-time Cheersport National Champion, US Finals champion, was recognized at UCA camp as an outstanding leader among her peers, was acting high school co-captain her junior year for homecoming and the state basketball championships, and she has twice received an invitation to compete at Cheerleading Worlds. This fall she will be a collegiate cheerleader – selected for the football, basketball, and competitive squads at Gardner-Webb University in Boiling Springs, NC.

In addition to being a Port St. Joe High School varsity cheerleader, Kelsie was also a member of the Junior Executive Board, Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA), and was a Diamond Girl.

Gardner-Webb University, is a member of the Big South Conference, NCAA Division I, and competes in 11 men’s and 11 women’s sports.

It is a private, Christian, Baptist-related university, providing outstanding undergraduate and graduate education that is strongly grounded in the liberal arts, while offering opportunities to prepare for various professions.

“Gardner-Webb University Cheerleading is so thrilled to have Kelsie as a member of our squad this coming year,” said Lenea Walker, Head Cheerleading Coach. “She is bringing several strengths to our program with her strong background in tumbling to her excellent stunting ability. We can't wait to have Kelsie in our ‘Runnin' Bulldogs’ uniform very soon!”

While living in Georgia, Kelsie was a member of Troup Spirit, United Pythons, and the Long Cane Middle School competitive cheerleading squad. Since her family relocated to Port St. Joe, she was an Ace Warrior, a Port St. Joe High School varsity cheerleader, World Class Athletics-PCB Black Diamond, and a coach at Forgotten Coast Athletics.

“Kelsie coached the Tiny Snappers All-Star Cheer Team this past season at Forgotten Coast Athletics. Kelsie was a huge asset to our program. She choreographed their entire routine from start to finish. She also worked with our elite athletes on their tumbling skills,” said Stephanie Petersen, Owner and Head Cheerleading Coach at Forgotten Coast Athletics in Port St. Joe. “All of the athletes in our program look up to Kelsie as a role model. It was my honor to have Kelsie on the coaching staff and she will continue to coach when she comes back home. I am excited to watch Kelsie cheer at Gardner-Webb University this fall.”

Burke, who plans to pursue a degree in nursing, said, “I am so excited and grateful for the opportunity to be a GWU Runnin’ Bulldogs Cheerleader. Cheering at the collegiate level is something I have been working towards since I was 4 years old. This experience is a dream come true for me and I know that it will provide a strong foundation for my future success, both on the mat/field and off.”