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Karley Kearney, 22, said she knew she wanted to audition for the Sea Gals after she attended her first Seahawks game with her dad and found herself watching the cheerleaders more than the game. She graduated from Western in spring 2017 with a degree in communication studies and is now an active member of the Sea Gals while working part time.

Kearney auditioned for the Sea Gals five times. She said she became more comfortable with the process the more she auditioned, because she knew what to expect.

“I wanted it more and more every year I auditioned,” she said. “I just came back trying to improve and do my best every year.”

Trained in ballet, jazz, tap, contemporary and hip-hop dancing, Kearney is no stranger to the dance community. She has been dancing since she was 3 years old. Starting as a tap dancer, she moved to competitive dancing in junior high and high school.

Karley Kearney performs with the Western hip-hop team. // Photo courtesy of Karley Kearney

She was also on her high school cheer team, which she co-captained her senior year. In college, she taught Zumba part time at the Wade King Student Recreation Center and danced on the Western hip-hop team for four years.

Hannah Rothschiller, Kearney’s teammate from the Western hip-hop team said the hip-hop team is supportive of Kearney and her career as a Sea Gal.

“Being on the team with Karley was always very fun. She always had a really positive energy and attitude. She really felt like a leader,” Rothschiller said.

The audition process consists of workshops prior to the audition and four audition days where the judges narrow down the contestants each round, according to the Sea Gals website. Kearney attended at least one workshop each year and said they were helpful in preparing her for auditions. The candidates also went through a group interview, in which Kearney said she presented her best self, wanting to be chosen for who she was.

“I think the thing that is really great about the Sea Gals is they’re really community oriented and they really love the 12s,” Kearney said.

She had the opportunity to promote the Hawks by visiting Bellingham recently with the Sea Gals on their 12 Tour. Kearney is looking forward to her first game, which will be the Seahawks’ first preseason game.

“She talks very highly of the team — she loves it. It’s something she’s always dreamed of being a part of,” Kelly Self, Kearney’s best friend, said. “Having another family and such positive people is such a blessing for her.”

Kearney emphasized how nice and welcoming the women on the team are. Most of the women on the team have lives outside of being a Sea Gal, including studying, motherhood and careers, said Sea Gal Director and former Sea Gal Sherri Thompson in an interview with Q13 FOX News.

Karley Kearney performs at the Seattle Seahawks 12 Tour stop at the Fairhaven Village Green on June 24. // Photo by Dan Thomas

Kearney likes how the team is different than high school and college teams in that the team members are  of all different ages

“It’s great to meet people from different backgrounds and who are in different places in their lives,” Kearney said.

The Sea Gals began preparing for the upcoming football season right after auditions ended on May 7 by learning a new routine almost every practice.

“We’ve been just learning, learning, learning,” Kearney said.

She said it was great timing to make the team because she just graduated.

“It’s such an honor and privilege to be a part of this team. I am already having so much fun,” Kearney said. “It’s been a dream come true and I can’t wait for the rest of the season.”


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