The Penrith cheerleader who took out this year’s Cheerleader of the Year title has revealed she was subjected to cruel social network trolling by Panthers fans during her campaign to win the annual contest, which is run by Big League.
The beautiful and bubbly 18-year-old Panthers cheerleader revealed to the Weekender that she was horrified and “felt at her lowest point” when a Facebook post put up by Penrith Panthers asking for Caitlin’s support in the competition turned nasty and scathing.
“Many of the comments I read from some fans of the page were horrible and really upsetting,” she said.
“I honestly thought I had no chance at all of winning when I read all those nasty comments about me from Panthers supporters themselves. I thought to myself if I don’t have the support of the Penrith supporters how am I going to win this?”
In a big “I told you so” to the trolls that gave Caitlin such a hard time, the university student said she was extremely grateful for all the positive support she did receive in the end.
“When I got the phone call to say I won I was absolutely stunned,” she said.
“I texted everyone in my contacts list to vote for me, handed out flyers at games. It was hard work but now it’s paid off.”
Caitlin now hopes to use her incredible win to her advantage to perhaps one day become Penrith’s own Jennifer Hawkins, who also got her start in the entertainment industry after winning the same competition back in 2001.
“People like Jen Hawkins have won this competition and if my life went in that direction that would be amazing,” she said.
“It’s dreaming at this stage but before I won I thought there’s not a lot that’s possible… I don’t doubt myself as much now, I’m a bit more confident and I really do hope that great things come from winning this competition.”
Earlier this year Panthers management were flirting with the idea of having no cheerleaders at Penrith games in season 2012.
Fortunately an eleventh hour rescue by food chain Harry’s Café De Wheels changed all of that.
“Being 18 this was the first year I was allowed to audition, so that would’ve been devastating if I couldn’t have tried out,” Caitlin said.
As ‘Cheerleader of the year’, Caitlin has won a $2,000 GoDo voucher, which she plans to donate to her charity CanTeen Australia.