Local teams compete in youth cheerleading competition

Published 12:00 am Monday, October 29, 2007

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. — Tia Lewis of Chesapeake summed up her feelings in one word Sunday evening at the conclusion of the Tri-State Youth Football League’s Cheerleading Competition.


Smiling, trophy in hand she made her way out of the Veterans Memorial Field House with her mom and the rest of her B Team Squad.

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They have spent all season cheering on their teams. On Sunday, it was time for the cheerleaders to compete for bragging rights. Cheerleading squads from 13 area schools, their fans, families and friends to showcase a cheer and dance routine for judges and onlookers.

Each division, made up of teams A through E, performed a cheer and a dance routine before a panel of judges. Trophies were awarded to each division for participation, technical cheer and dance routine. A Spirit Award, Sportsmanship Award and Grand Champion Award were also presented at an awards ceremony at the conclusion of the event.

Squads from Fairland, Chesapeake and South Point competed. According to Karyn Stephens, coach of South Point’s D Team, it is the culmination of a lot of hard work and determination.

“I have 24 girls on the team, five that had never cheered before. We have been practicing since Aug. 1,” she said. “We practiced for two hours, three days a week. The last two weeks we practiced six days a week for two hours a day.”

Stephens’ assistant coach Sarah Holsinger is a Marshall Cheerleader who worked at Bozhi’s Gym Nest. Stephen’s said she worked with the squad and helped teach tumbling to those who were new to it.

“I couldn’t have done it without her,” she said.

For some, Sunday was their first experience competing.

Chesapeake D Team’s Shelby Harrison said she had a lot of fun cheering and competing.

“We got to do a lot of stuff,”she said.

Six-year-old Sophie Kelley of Fairland’s E Team said she wasn’t scared when her squad took the floor earlier that afternoon.

“It was fun. I liked dancing,” she said.

“She’s been really sick, but she toughed it out today,” said Christy Kelley, her mother. “I am very proud of my girls, they did their best.”

Cait Kelley, 8, said she is a bit more experienced than her younger sister with Sunday being her second year at the competition. She said preparing is a lot of hard work, but it is definitely worth it.

“It pays off in the end,” she said. “Last year we got a trophy for our cheer.”

Several others agreed they enjoyed cheering and competing at the end of the football season. No matter how their teams placed in Sunday’s competition — it was their chance to showcase their hard work.