2011-01-27 / Local & State

Wagner Wraps Up NFL Cheerleading Career

Danielle McGarvey Wagner a leader on and off the field
By Chanin Rotz-Mountz

Danielle McGarvey Wagner Danielle McGarvey Wagner Armed with the grace of a dancer and poise of a pageant queen, Danielle McGarvey Wagner has all the qualities needed to be a leader both on and off the football field.

For the last two years, Wagner has been an instrumental member of the Seagals, the cheerleading squad for the NFL’s Seattle Seahawks. Fortunately for Wagner, her diverse background, blonde locks and bubbly personality have allowed her to accrue an extensive fan base at Qwest field as well as in the Tri-State.

A native of the Hagerstown area, Wagner is the daughter of Tony and Martina McGarvey of Chambersburg and Brenda Dalton of Frederick, Md. Proud sisters include Cooper and Briar Rose, while grandparents and greatgrandparents shouting their accolades are Chauncey and Polly McGarvey, Kay McGarvey, Ruth Souders, all of McConnellsburg; and Dale and Almeda Schooley, of Mercersburg.

“I am very thankful and blessed to have such a supportive family. I would not have been able to achieve my dreams if it weren’t for them. Even though we are far apart they manage to somehow make me feel close to home in my heart,” Wagner told the “News.”

The 27-year-old began building a repertoire that would eventually carry her across the nation when she joined the Potomac Classical Youth Ballet Company 20 years ago. With the majority of her six years of dance training in classical ballet, Wagner managed to dabble in different dance styles, including jazz, tap and lyrical.

“Over the years I stayed active in all different types of dance, but my passion was always ballet,” said Wagner, who moved on to competing in pageants after seeing her mother’s active schedule with the Miss Maryland scholarship organization. “I loved going with her to watch. I can remember telling her that I wanted to compete someday. It was great for me because I had already had the dance experience and outgoing personality.”

During her pageant tenure, Wagner secured the titles of Miss Washington County and Miss Teen Maryland and spent much of her time travelling throughout the community and to different schools speaking publicly on the issues of teen violence. Her involvement helped her gain muchneeded public speaking experience as well as scholarship money to attend College of Charleston and eventually graduate from Towson University with a degree in business marketing in 2005.

Deciding she wasn’t finished dancing, Wagner opted to audition for a position as an NFL cheerleader. Competing against approximately 300 other women with dance backgrounds, she soon learned public speaking, an outgoing personality, physical fitness and overall “pizzazz” are must haves for the job.

Wagner initially netted a oneyear position with the Arizona Cardinals cheerleaders and a follow up, two-year stint with the Seahawks’ squad. The pay is little, but the workload can be heavy at times with twice weekly five-hour practices, workouts, games and community events.

“Dancing for 60,000 fans is just not the same as taking a dance class for fun,” Wagner pointed out. “I think the quality that makes me a great Seagal is probably my attitude. I am very passionate about being a part of this organization of women and always try to have a positive attitude.”

“ ... Being positive has always been a goal of mine. I learned how to be a positive person through dance, family, church and friends. It’s better to go through life being happy and not putting yourself down by thinking negatively,” she added.

Due to age limitations, Wagner’s performance on Sunday, January 16, during the NFC division playoff game between the victorious Chicago Bears and the Seahawks was her final appearance as an NFL cheerleader.

“I don’t think we could’ve had a better finish. Winning the first playoff at home against the defending 2010 Super Bowl champs, the New Orleans Saints, will always be a top memory,” stated Wagner. ”As an NFL cheerleader I will take away great friendships and lasting memories of dancing in front of some of the best fans in the NFL.”

Looking into the future with a focus on her sales job and makeup business, Wager remains hopeful that one day she can serve as a choreographer for one of the cheerleading squads. Planted firmly by her side moving forward is husband and former Hagerstown Suns baseball player Michael Wagner.

“He is my number one fan, and always pushes me to be my best ... I know he will miss having free season tickets to the games,” joked Wagner.

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