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Cheerleaders attend Citrus bowl

What would be a thrill of a lifetime for you? Two of the Rock Hill Middle School cheerleaders had such a thrilling experience this past week.

Tuesday, January 09, 2001

What would be a thrill of a lifetime for you? Two of the Rock Hill Middle School cheerleaders had such a thrilling experience this past week.

On New Year’s Day, Elisha Gillispie and Sarah Dodson experienced the exciting roars of the crowd during the most exciting halftime show in the nation – "America’s Best Halftime Show" – at the Florida Citrus Bowl in Orlando, Fla.

They were among 1,300 cast members of All-American cheerleaders, twirlers, dancers and flag corps from across the country performing with the rising rock group, Take 5, before an audience of over 60,000 spectators.

The five-day tour included two days of strenuous practice with professional choreographers, one day at Walt Disney World’s New Year’s Live celebration at Universal Studios and an island-style pool party.

"I was very proud of the girls," said Ginger Dalton, cheerleading coach. "They worked very hard, and watching them at practices and at the performance made me very proud of them."

"I was nervous but excited," added Miss Gillispie. "It was fun, except for the practices. They were long and a lot of hard work was involved."

"It made me feel nervous at first," said Miss Dodson. "And then one of the coaches told me to calm down. Then, I imagined that it was like being at a statewide competition and I was okay."

Greg Dodson, Sarah’s father, thought the performance was excellent and said he was very proud of his daughter.

It was a week of hard work for a three-minute performance of glory, but it was worth it for them, he said.

"When I saw her out there on the field, the tears just came," said Johnda Gillispie, Elisha’s mom. "It was an experience of a lifetime and I was so proud of her. She really worked hard for this. All the time, money and hard work really paid off to see her get to be a part of the Citrus Bowl performance among so many other teenagers. They all did a great job and we had a great time."

All in all, it was a wonderful and exciting experience for the girls to be able to have a "dream come true."

The girls will be competing at the ECA National Cheerleading competitions in March, along with the rest of the Rock Hill Middle School cheerleaders. The competition will be held in Williamsburg, Va.