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This N.J. native is performing at Super Bowl 50

Siobhan Campbell-Martin, a Trenton, N.J. native, will be cheering for the Carolina Panthers TopCats cheerleading squad at Super Bowl 50. (Goodstuff Creative)

Siobhan Campbell-Martin, a Trenton, N.J. native, will be cheering for the Carolina Panthers TopCats cheerleading squad at Super Bowl 50. (Goodstuff Creative)

Kevin Shea | For NJ.com
January 31, 2016

TRENTON — When the dance team at Trenton Catholic Academy turned into the cheerleading squad several years ago, Siobhan Campbell was named one of its leaders.

But the teenager, who had been training as a dancer for years, was too intimidated to be called a cheerleader, and quit the squad.

She later tried out for the dance teams at two colleges she attended, but did not make the cut. It looked she would never don a cheer uniform again, she said.

With a lift from God, the Trenton native says, she’s now a three-year veteran of the Carolina Panthers cheerleaders – the TopCats – and will be cheering at Super Bowl 50 next Sunday in California.

And she’s one of the captains.

“I give all the glory to God. He did all of this,” she said.

She is now Siobhan Campbell-Martin, a newlywed, and says persistence and some dance training in New York also played a role in her ascent to the TopCats squad.

The 25-year-old was even named cheerleader of the week in Sports Illustrated in 2014.

She has a message to anyone growing up in the city: “I am proud to say that I am from Trenton. Look at me now.”

NFL cheerleaders do not normally travel to away games, so Campbell-Martin said the Super Bowl is extra special to her squad because they will get to meet and cheer alongside the Denver Broncos cheerleaders.

And then there’s the halftime show. “I am a huge Beyoncé fan,” she said.

Although the TopCats will not be performing at the halftime show – which also includes Coldplay and Bruno Mars – Campbell-Martin said she will be watching up close.

Campbell-Martin said her route to cheering professionally started as a kid at the Hammond-Phelps Centre For Dance on Maple Avenue.

“That was where my love of dance was established,” she said.

She also played basketball, West Ward baseball and even shot a few rounds with the Trenton Junior Golf program.

“But I pretty much stuck with dance,” she said.

When she quit the high school squad, she remembers her coach Cassidy Manning’s words: “She told me she believed in me and I never forgot that.”

Siobhan.jpgSiobhan Campbell-Martin cheers with the Carolina Panthers TopCats squad during a game. (Goodstuff Creative)

Siobhan.jpgSiobhan Campbell-Martin cheers with the Carolina Panthers TopCats squad during a game. (Goodstuff Creative)

College brought her to the Carolinas, first to Winston-Salem State University, then Appalachian State University.

“I kind of felt like I was running from dance,” she said of her time at Winston-Salem.

She had an undeclared major and was trying new things to pursue. God was humbling her, she said.

Needing a new start, she transferred to Appalachian. She still did not make their dance team, but she majored in dance and minored in business, and the summer before her senior year, she returned to Trenton.

That summer, Campbell-Martin enrolled in a dance program in New York City and felt back on track.

“That is pretty much where it started again,” she said. She got come callbacks for dancing, including one from Disney.

“But the one thing I didn’t see coming was cheerleading for the Panthers,” she said.

She took a class at college, though, taught by a TopCats coach, where she earned a first round bye to the tryouts.

“She saw something in me that I didn’t see,” Campbell-Martin said. “I knew from there I would keep accelerating, keep moving forward and go with it.”

“And now I am in my third year, I am now a captain and we’re going to the Super Bowl.”

Off the field, she’s works as a project coordinator at Genera Solutions in Charlotte. Her parents still live in Trenton, as do her siblings, she said.

She sees herself as a role model to anyone like her growing up in the city. “I just want encourage people in Trenton, wherever they are in their development, to keep at it.”

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