BY BRANDY TEMPLETON

A first-of-its-kind cheer competition was held in Iredell County on Friday night.

Cheer squads from Troutman Middle School, Lakeshore Middle School, The Brawley IB School, American Renaissance Middle School, and Oakwood Middle School, an IB World School, competed in the event at South Iredell High School.

The teams were evaluated by three judges from One United All-Stars in Mooresville in several areas, including jumps, cheers, dance, tumbling, stunts, transitions, and overall energy.

The Troutman Middle team, coached by Amber Reep and Alexis Johnson, finished first.

In preparation for the competition, Reep’s team practiced every day of the week for 2.5 hours except on game days.

“We’ve been practicing since January,” she shared.

Reep believes the competition was good for all who participated. And the teams were energized by the large crowd.

“It brightened their faces,” Reep said. “Seeing the girls light up at all the people who came to cheer them on was a good feeling.”

Reep was proud of the girls for supporting the other teams.

“The teams all showed good sportsmanship,” she said. “They cheered and clapped for each other.”

Ryan Hall, cheer coach for Oakwood Middle School, came up with the idea for the competition.

He wanted the cheerleaders recognized for having their own sport and not just for supporting other athletes.

“I want to bring more attention and awareness to the sport,” he said. “It’s easy to forget it’s an actual sport and not just following football or basketball.”

In the future, Hall plans to seek out more opportunities for the girls to showcase their skills and gain more competition experience.

“We have the potential to develop at a high level and strengthen their skills,” he shared.

ARS coach Megan Parker was proud of her girls and glad to participate in the competition.

Her squad managed to squeeze six practices after learning about the event a few weeks ago. But the girls worked hard, learning twists in just two weeks.

“Our girls worked hard,” Parker said.

She thinks that the event was positive for all involved.

“The event was very nice and well- organized,” she said. “The experience was great.”

The event raised around $2,000, which will be split evenly between the cheer teams to invest in new equipment.

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