Durant senior earns UF cheerleading scholarship
PLANT CITY - Durant High School senior Tarin Moses will be about as close to the action as it gets when the Florida Gators try for another national football championship this season. She'll be on the sidelines as the newest member of the University of Florida's varsity cheerleading squad. The 17-year-old said she is a longtime Florida sports fan - her sister Tori was a member of the university's Dazzlers dance team - and is thrilled to cheer for the Gators, the defending national football champs. Moses, Durant's cheerleading captain, will receive a full cheerleading scholarship. She said she'll be the only freshman on the squad."They have an awesome cheerleading program. It's awesome cheering for the team," she said. The Gators cheerleading coach couldn't be reached for comment. Durant cheerleading coach Kristen Colgan said Tarin made her proud. "She's worked so hard. Her hard work is paying off," said Colgan, who also teaches Tarin honors English. Tarin's mother, Lori, said her daughter sweated it out after trying out for the squad in Gainesville. The UF cheerleading coach promised to notify her if she'd made the team within a couple of hours, but had the wrong email address and the message never reached Tarin. Finally, a cheerleader who will be her new stunt partner for the Gators called and broke the news just before 1 a.m. Moses will be a member of the blue squad, composed of six to eight females and six to eight males. The squad cheers for football, men's basketball and gymnastics and also makes regular appearances representing the university at alumni, athletic, charitable and public relations activities. Tarin started cheering at 4 years old and won her first national cheerleading award when she was 6. In total, she has won about 60 national cheerleading awards, her mother said. Lori Moses owned a gym before recently going into the real estate business and taught cheerleading to both daughters. Tori, 23, was also a cheerleader at Durant High but decided to become a Dazzler when she started at UF. Moses and her husband Chip also have a son, Taed, a 19-year-old baseball player at Seminole Community College. Tarin Moses said she starts as a Gator cheerleader in late June, and the squad practices through August as it gets ready for the start of the sports season. Moses has been a varsity cheerleader all four of her years at Durant, including in 2008, when the Cougars won a district cheerleading championship. Moses said she plans to study biology and chemistry at the university, with plans to enter dental school and become an orthodontist. Her sister Tori hopes to enter Florida's dental school in the fall. Now that word has gotten around Durant that she's going to be one of the Gators cheerleaders, her friends pretty much have the same idea, she said. They are thrilled for her, she said, and "they all want tickets to the games." Her parents, both graduated from Louisiana State University, where Lori, who is a certified public accountant, was a dancer and Chip played baseball. But their loyalties have evolved to the Orange and Blue due to their daughters. "LSU has taken a back seat," Lori Moses said.
Reporter Dave Nicholson can be reached at (813) 865-4432.