By Paul LaPann
Parkersburg News and Sentinel
November 21, 2012
CHARLOTTE, N.C. – A Parkersburg High School graduate is a member of the National Basketball Association’s most popular dance team.
Amber Tracewell is in her third year with the Charlotte Bobcats’ Lady Cats, who perform dance routines and interact with the fans during basketball games. The Lady Cats also have a philanthropic side as they visit children in hospitals and distribute food to the hungry as part of the Cats Care program.
Fans have selected the Lady Cats the top NBA dance team the past two years in online voting. Tracewell has two championship rings to show for her efforts.
“We hope to win this year for a third time,” Tracewell said.
The Bobcats did not fare as well as the Lady Cats on the basketball court last season – posting an all-time NBA worst record of 7 wins and 59 losses. But the team was 5-4 after Monday night’s win over the Milwaukee Bucks.
Even with all the losses on the basketball court, Tracewell said she enjoys being a member of the Lady Cats.
“The fans have been great,” she said.
Tracewell attended Williamstown schools before transferring to Parkersburg High her sophomore year. She was a member of the Red Wings dance team at Parkersburg High and participated on all-star cheerleading squads during this time.
After graduating from Parkersburg High in 1999, Tracewell was a cheerleader at West Virginia University for two years before a severe ankle injury cut short her college cheerleading career.
She received a degree in English/political science from WVU in 2003 and a master’s in public administration from West Virginia University in 2008.
Tracewell moved to Charlotte in 2008 after graduate school. For three years, she was the executive director of the Matthews Free Medical Clinic for low-income, uninsured people in North Carolina, a job she loved and found rewarding.
Tracewell said she plans to return to nonprofit work some day and enjoys public speaking.
As a Lady Cat, Tracewell has traveled to Milan, Italy, and Cancun, Mexico, to promote the NBA. The Bobcats’ “My Hero Gala” fundraiser in October supported the Presbyterian Hospital Community Care Cruiser and the Cats Care Foundation.
NBA legend Michael Jordan is the majority owner of the Charlotte Bobcats.
The Lady Cats participate in Charlotte’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade in March.
Tracewell is a fan of WVU and Williamstown High School football. Her brother Jake was quarterback for the Yellowjackets this season and brother Alan was a football standout at Williamstown High.
She attends WVU alumni events in Charlotte and enjoys living in the “Queen City.”
Tracewell said she “recruited” former Marshall University cheerleader Hali Eplin of Man to join the Lady Cats.
Amber is the daughter of Ken and Kim Tracewell of Williamstown and the late Paula Brace of Vienna.