Jax Greenhill brings spirit to life for RHS
Energizing a crowd of sports fans has been the time-honored duty of cheerleading squads for generations. At Russellville High School, there’s one squad member who isn’t calling cheers or flying to the top of the pyramid – and he’s a member whose face will never be seen on the sidelines.
Jax Greenhill will pump up fans this fall as Champ.
Jax said he remembers hearing the announcement for Champ tryouts during his PE class this spring. Friends and fellow students encouraged him to give it a shot; one classmate, Jax said, dared him – and that was the tipping point.
Of course, Jax didn’t try out just on a dare.
“I like to act and get into character,” Jax said. “So I thought I’d be interested in it.”
Champ, cheer coach Stephanie Mayfield said, is an “extremely important” position for the RHS squad. “He is truly electric. He gets people on their feet,” Mayfield said. So choosing the right student for the job is a critical task.
Jax took the tryout seriously. Neighbor Alivia Clemmons helped him prepare his one-minute tryout routine, using a provided mix CD. “(Judges) said they wanted me to be able to do a toe-touch,” Jax said. Other than that, he was just instructed to “be entertaining.”
Two candidates for Champ tried out in front of a two-judge panel. Jax was selected, Mayfield said, “based on his personality, talent and charisma.” He was on his way to baseball practice when he got the news. “I was pretty happy,” he said.
Jax debuted as Champ for Pride Night 2017, RHS’ annual celebration of Golden Tiger spirit, at which RCS curriculum, activities, sports and more are highlighted for students, parents and the community. “I was up in the stands, high-fiving kids and just having a good time. It made me feel good that I could do something to make the kids happy,” Jax said. “It was really hot that day. I was burning up in the suit.”
Mayfield said Jax as Champ has already proven invaluable, performing at Pride Night and meeting students at the after-school program. “Their faces light up when they see him,” Mayfield said. “It makes it such a personal experience when you can get the babies to come and take pictures, and then the adults want their picture with him too!”
To be a good Champ, Jax said, requires being energetic and not being afraid to be silly. “The sillier you look, the better people think it is.”
From Mayfield’s perspective, excellent performance as Champ requires “commitment to the task.”
“He has to interact with people and do his best to get the crowd involved,” Mayfield said. She said Jax is great at what he does – both in and out of the suit. “I’ve never met a more polite young man. He is eager and enthusiastic … He is a tremendous athlete. He plays baseball for the Golden Tigers, and we can’t wait to go and support him.”
Jax’s parents are Brandi and Shawn Greenhill. He has one sister, Karlie.