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Even before Ashley Molnar started at UCF, she knew she wanted to be a cheerleader.

"I grew up going to the UCF football games and I did cheerleading camps, so I think I was exposed to the UCF culture and the community and I fell in love with it," said junior Ashley.

Her passion for UCF and its cheer team turned out to be almost inherited.

Her parents, Rob and Kim, studied advertising-public relations at UCF, and even credit the cheer program as what brought them together.

Kim started on the UCF cheer team in 1979 and cheered until 1983. Having cheered in high school, it was a natural transition.

"It's very interesting because in high school, you don't do partner stunts so that was different," Kim said. "Of course considering what they do today, we looked a lot different. Some of the easy stuff they do now we thought was very difficult and amazing."

Toward the end of her cheer career, in 1982, she met her future husband Rob, who cheered from 1982 to 1985, and then again in 1987 after a break. Originally, Rob had his sights on the then-active wrestling program at UCF, but with some encouragement form his fraternity brothers and Kim herself, he joined the squad.

Coincidentally, during their time at UCF, Rob and Kim cheered with Ashley's current coach Linda Gooch.

Gooch cheered alongside Rob and Kim from '80 to '83 and took over as coach one year later.

"I went right from being a cheerleader to coaching the very next year," Gooch said. "There were people I was on the team with and the next year I was their coach."

Though she calls her first 10 years of coaching her "lost years" due to the bumpy transition into coaching, she said the relationships she has with former teammates and cheer-team members have carried her through her more than 30 years as a coach. Rob and Kim are one of those relationships she speaks of.

But that relationship is exactly what Rob and Kim were worried about when Ashley said she wanted to try out for the team at UCF. Wanting Ashley to get a spot on the team because of her abilities, not her parents' connections, Rob and Kim didn't even warn Gooch that Ashley was going to be there.

"I'll never forget calling Kim up on the phone and saying, 'You know you could have let me know your daughter is coming to try out for cheerleading,'" Gooch said as she laughed. "They didn't want to have any favoritism, and they wanted Ashley to succeed on her own merit and abilities. I thought that was really impressive that they weren't trying to pave the way for her or anything. They wanted her to do it on her own."

Ashley's presence at tryouts meant more to Gooch than a simple reminder of days past at UCF. It represented trust and just how positive an impact the UCF cheer team has had on its alumni.

"It's pretty humbling to think that they would feel so strongly about UCF and about our program and the cheer program we've built here that they'd want to put their daughter in my hands for the four years she's here," Gooch said.

Thus far, Gooch said the Molnar family is the only multi-generational cheerleading family UCF has, though she predicts that will change.

Now that she's standing where her parents stood before her years ago, Ashley said she routinely goes to her parents for advice, though they always stress how different it was back when they cheered. But as with anything, there is always one thing that will stays the same.

"Of course they said it was a bit different but they said, 'Getting to cheer on your team is something that never changes,'" Ashley said.

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Adam Rhodes is the Entertainment Editor at the Central Florida Future. Follow him on Twitter at @byadamrhodes or email him at AdamR@CentralFloridaFuture.com.

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