Two Cavaliers arise to royalty

Published 12:00 am Sunday, October 30, 2005

For Jeffrey Cook, winning Lakeland High School royalty was an extra birthday present.

For Nina Russell, it was a way of keeping it all in the family.

&uot;I was one of the last to enter,&uot; said Cook, a member of the school’s basketball and football teams. &uot;Everybody kept telling me I should run, and it was my last year, so I figured I’d go for it.&uot;

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Russell’s trip to Queen-hood began last year when she represented the Lady Cavalier junior class on the Homecoming Court.

&uot;This was my last year, and I wanted to make it the best,&uot; said the member of the basketball and cross country teams and algebra tutor. &uot;I put up posters and handed out candy.&uot;

While she was sitting in the stands at the Homecoming game last Friday with the rest of the queen candidates, Cook was out on the field, and he wasn’t having fun; Indian River took a 26-0 halftime lead over the Cavaliers and would eventually take a 43-6 win.

&uot;I wasn’t feeling too good,&uot; Cook said. &uot;Then I saw my mom, and I felt better.&uot;

With his mother Subrina on his arm, and Russell on her father William’s, the two waited for the other contestants to be announced. Russell’s sister Ariel was on the sophomore court, and her cousin Ciara Walden was in the junior group.

Frazier Godfrey’s name was called as the Prince. Then came Cook’s assent.

&uot;I just smiled,&uot; he said. &uot;I was happy.&uot;

Russell wasn’t — at least, not yet.

&uot;I was really nervous,&uot; she said. &uot;It was a lot of popular girls running, and I wasn’t sure I’d win.&uot;

Over the loudspeaker came Cherelle Shelton’s name for the Princess honor. A minute later, Russell got the top Lady Cavalier award.

&uot;I was shaking,&uot; she said. &uot;I was nervous thinking, ‘Thank you, Lord, thank you so much. My mom told me all blessings come from the Lord, so give Him praise!&uot;

As if the King-ship wasn’t enough of a birthday present for Cook, he got another gift in the second half – his team’s only touchdown, his fourth of the year.

Russell, who owns a 3.85 grade point average, would like to go into pre-law. Cook, whose rap banner Ill Indies has already put out five albums, wants to pursue a career in music, and study entrepreneurship, planning on opening a restaurant someday.