Before hitting the stage at The Voice, singer Cierra Mikans use to play high school basketball with her father on the side of the court coaching. Mikans played varsity basketball for the Eagle River High School Wolves, which was part of the Anchorage School District’s Cook Inlet Conference (CIC).
Mikans played for three different basketball coaches at Eagle River. During her senior year, her last coach was her dad. Basketball was not the only sport Mikans competed in for Eagle River. Flag Football was brought to Alaska and the CIC to comply with Title IX, and Mikans hit the grid iron with the Wolves squad and also ran track during her high school career.
It was rough however for Mickens and her basketball teammates. The school opened in 2005 and being a young school in Alaska, it was tough to find enough girls who wanted to play basketball. While the school was built for 1600 students, Eagle River had under 900 in attendance, and a lot of those kids were military and were not always there the next season to help build a team each year.
Each season was like starting from scratch each year. New coach and a lot of new players. Mickens and the few returning players worked hard each season. With the consistent changes to the program year to year, the Wolves could only manage a couple wins each season. It did not keep Mickens from giving her all from practice to game time.
As a preview to her singing talents brought to The Voice, Cierra Mickens took to the court to sing the National Anthem prior to both boys and girls high school basketball games. Mickens quickly became a favorite at Eagle River High School to sing the Anthem where various students would preform before games.
After graduating from Eagle River in 2009, Mickens attended Washington State University (WSU) in Pullman. She studied Political Science and Criminal Justice while singing with the WSU Vocal Jazz ensemble Purple. Mickens and Purple performed weekly at Rico’s, a pub in Pullman.
After graduating from college, Mickens returned home to Eagle River and started working for her father with the intention of going back to school to become a lawyer. That intention has been put on hold after she tried out for The Voice and after having three coaches turn their chairs during the blind auditions, selected Shakira as her coach.
Mickens competed in the battle round against fellow Team Shakira singer Emily B. It looked like it was over when her opponent was chosen by their coach to continue on in the competition. As she walked off the stage thinking her run was over and it was time to go back home and start planning for law school something happened to almost drop her to her knees.
Usher held the only remaining save, and after an agonizing moment, reached out and pressed his button to save Mickens. After fighting for the ball on the high school basketball court, Cierra Mickens will still sing on The Voice, but on a new team. Team Usher.
By Carl Auer