Alumni transition from Spartans to Tigers

Class+of+2021+White+Station+students+Caitlyn+Catron+%28left%29+and+Jeremy+Boyland+%28right%29+are+two+of+several+successful+student+athletes+currently+at+the+University+of+Memphis.+Their+ability+to+adapt+and+grow+within+their+respective+sports+was+a+major+factor+in+their+commitment+to+the+Tigers.

Caitlyn Catron, Jeremy Boyland

Class of 2021 White Station students Caitlyn Catron (left) and Jeremy Boyland (right) are two of several successful student athletes currently at the University of Memphis. Their ability to adapt and grow within their respective sports was a major factor in their commitment to the Tigers.

Fans roar. Cheerleaders rev up the crowd, pom-poms in hand. Eleven men donned in blue hustle down the field. Fans raise their arms in a U-shape above their heads. Touchdown. In football and cheerleading, former Spartan athletes tackle their college courses and athletics at the University of Memphis.

Competitive All Star cheerleader Caitlyn Catron has been cheering for 13 years and always dreamed of reaching the collegiate level. As she adjusts to a new form of cheer, staying organized is key. The large time commitment between cheer and her expansive college course load requires a balance that Catron mastered as both an honors student and cheerleader at White Station. 

“My way of balancing school work with practices and games is for sure finding those designated times when you can get things done,” Catron said. “A planner is top priority, and I personally lay out my entire schedule (games, practice, due dates for work, etc.) and work from there and see what days[and]times work best for myself.”

After deciding to play football at an NCAA Division I school, Jeremy Boyland knew that he would have to break the typical high schooler’s procrastination cycle. By completing assignments on off days and going to study halls to get extra help when needed, Boyland is able to stay on top of his heavy workload. 

“The pros [of being a student athlete] would have to be that it builds you as a person, developing you into a more responsible individual and also it comes with recognition, which comes with more opportunities as people understand the task at hand of being a student athlete,” Boyland said. “The cons would have to be the sacrifices. As a student athlete you have to separate yourself and realize you can’t live a normal teen life like your peers.”

As a linebacker, Boyland must be versatile as he has many responsibilities on the field. Linebackers must have speed and strength in order to read the offense, react and make tackles. Communication is key when competing for a spot on a high octane, high energy team like the University of Memphis.

“In college, the more vocal players tend to be more successful as college football is a business and the coaches are going to play those who are best suitable — whether that’s knowing the plays or making plays because of confidence and feeding teammates’ energy,” Boyland said.

At White Station, Catron learned to lead both on and off the mat. The Memphis Spirit Squad is full of young women like Catron who put the ‘leader’ in cheerleader and represent the best of the best. 

“My time at White Station prepared me for playing at the next level in a more academic way than athletic [and] … being a part of the optional/honors program of White Station prepared me for the workload and juggling my work more than you would understand,” Catron said. “I am used to a more rigorous workload thanks to White Station, so knowing how to juggle it while still cheering is not something new to me.”

Although competing at a high level can be challenging, Boyland and Catron are eager to rise to the occasion. In addition to the fruition of their dreams, student athletes’ dedication to their sport provides them with other unique benefits.

“From gameday to practices to even being able to perform in Memphis Madness and be so close [to] and meet celebrities, it has been an experience that I honestly would have not been able to imagine in my wildest dreams, and I am so grateful for it,” Catron said.