Last year, Lainey Goodson broke her back dancing. Now, she is a Kilgore College Rangerette.
“I knew it was my dream,” the Lindale resident said. “I knew if I set my mind to it, that if I just pushed through and worked for it, I could possibly achieve it.”
Goodson is one of 34 freshmen selected Friday out of 91 “hopefuls” for the 80th Rangerette line after a week of tryouts.
The freshmen join 35 sophomores to make a lineup of 69 women on the world-famous precision drill team founded in 1940 by the now-late Gussie Nell Davis.
After breaking her back last year, Goodson said she did physical therapy three times a week and hours of exercises.
It paid off.
“I’m not in pain anymore, which is such a blessing,” Goodson said. “I’ve pushed through and grown so much.”
Elisabeth Eckles of Whitehouse grew up in East Texas hearing about the Rangerettes, and she said words can’t describe how it feels to now be part of them.
“I’m looking forward to all the traditions and legacy behind it all,” Eckles said. “Oh, I’m so excited.”
Maggie Ethington of Nacogdoches attended both sessions of this past June’s Rangerette dance camp, which offers attendees instruction by current and former drill team members on how to dance and perform like a Rangerette.
Ethington said the camps helped give her a leg up this week.
“I’m so glad I went to that,” she said. “I learned so much there and the Rangerette style, and I think that really prepared me for tryouts.”
On the first day of tryouts, Ethington said she pulled her hamstring muscle. Having staff members there to watch and monitor her throughout the week helped her push through.
She said she began dancing ballet when she was 2 and moved into drill team dance her junior year of high school.
Ethington has taken classes and attended lessons and camps most of her life to lead up to the moment Friday when she saw her number on the Rangerette board.
“I feel so blessed and happy. I’m so proud of everyone here, and I’m proud of myself for pushing through this process,” she said. “I’ve been so blessed just to even be a Rangerette for a week, and now I get to call myself a Rangerette for two years. And I couldn’t be happier.”