Elizabeth Huggins

A Gallant “You Go, Girl“ Moment

January 2024ElizabethHuggins0124

by Elizabeth Skenes Millen
Photography provided by Elizabeth Huggins

When it comes to class reunions, many of us are hesitant. However, Elizabeth Huggins is all about it as a member of the Class of 1991 at the University of Texas (UT) in Austin. She was a UT cheerleader from 1987-1990, leaving her Saturday sideline gig her senior year for a necessary internship in her nutrition major.

Elizabeth had no cheerleading experience prior to college. She was a gymnast—and a shy one, at that. A serendipitous moment became a game-changer when she was working out in the same gym as the cheerleading squad. She saw them stunting, which spelled F.U.N. to her. With her petite size, acrobatic background, and adorable personality, she was a shoo-in to make the squad.

Fast forward to last fall, September 2023, to the Texas vs. Wyoming game, where UT cheerleader alumni, all the way back to the Class of 1953, gathered for a reunion. “I have gone to three Texas Cheer and Pom Alumni Reunions prior to this year—1997, 2008, and 2010. This year’s reunion was extra special because it’s the last time Alumni Cheer will be able to cheer on the field due to changes in conference rules.

The Texas Cheer and Pom Alumni Reunion kicked off Friday night with a reception of over 200 former Texas Cheer, Pom and Hook ‘ems. “Let’s just say there was a lot of energy in that room. It was incredible to see everyone, with age ranges spanning from long ago to more recent grads,” Elizabeth said.

“The game was on Saturday evening, and the alumni had a mandatory practice to go over rules and practice stunting. My last time being tossed into the air was 2010, and I had no plans to do it again. But then I couldn’t stand it, and I didn’t want to miss the chance to stunt. Having the opportunity one last time to wear my University of Texas cheer uniform at the game and being part of the energy in that stadium was so much fun and so amazing.”

Prior to kick off, the group participated in the Bevo Parade with the Longhorn band and the Silver Spurs escorting Bevo XV into the stadium. With energy pulsing through the stadium as powerful as the jets of the United States Air Force flying overhead, the UT stadium was rocking!

 “I feel so lucky and honored to be part of the University of Texas tradition and a part of a group of talented individuals who have gone on to do great things in their professional lives. It’s hard to fully describe all these emotions that are so special and dear to me. As a Texas girl, there’s nothing like the UT Tower lit up in orange, surrounded by a big burnt orange Texas sky,” Elizabeth gushed.ElizabethHuggins0124 1

Perhaps caught up in emotion, or maybe just full of confidence, Elizabeth observed Van, one of the strong, massive male cheerleader alumnus, as he threw former—and younger—cheerleaders into the air. “He was as solid as a rock. I had my concerns about getting hurt, but after watching him, I knew I’d be fine. I asked him if he would mind tossing me and promised I would stay tight.”

So, at 55 years old, Elizabeth Huggins flew into the air and stood firm on Van’s one hand. She put her arms in the air, claiming victory, claiming this girl still has it!

Not only did her UT degree in nutrition pay off in her lifelong career to help others maintain or reclaim their health, she also made it her way of life. She chalks up being able to fit in that uniform from 33 years ago and fly into the air with ease to eating right and staying active and flexible. Her priority is to walk her walk and talk her talk; she is the example. “I’m going to stay as healthy and flexible as long as I can. It’s important for independence.”

“My former coach would remind us when we were traveling as a squad, ‘Not everyone shares your enthusiasm for life.’ That meant we needed to behave and not be too rowdy. I cherish my enthusiasm for life, and I am thankful for my health and family, and I never want to take it
for granted.”

Elizabeth Huggins, you went for it, and when we see you up there in the air, it is a giant reminder to us all to have fun, choose life and Go! Fight! Win!