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GHS cheer squad earn accolades at Destin camp

The Greenville High School varsity cheerleading squad earned several accolades in Destin, Fla., this past weekend.  Pictured from L to R: Alissa Taylor, Laila Boutwell, Rhiya Daniel, Mya McNeil, Kaitlyn Neese (Capt.);  Aniyah McClaney, Sydney Owens (Co-Capt.); Caitlyn Tilley, De’Jah Bedgood, Madison Owens, Alyssa Lear, Kendra Robinson

The Greenville High School varsity cheerleading squad earned several accolades in Destin, Fla., this past weekend. Pictured from L to R: Alissa Taylor, Laila Boutwell, Rhiya Daniel, Mya McNeil, Kaitlyn Neese (Capt.); Aniyah McClaney, Sydney Owens (Co-Capt.); Caitlyn Tilley, De’Jah Bedgood, Madison Owens, Alyssa Lear, Kendra Robinson

The Greenville High School varsity cheerleading squad made waves of a different sort in Destin, Fla., during last weekend’s Universal Cheerleaders Association cheer camp.

The team won first place in the sideline chant competition, and another superior squad award as well as four superior ribbons.

Anna Findley, cheer sponsor for the varsity cheer squad alongside Megan Brooks, said that the camp was more informative than competitive, but that in no way meant that the cheering squad rested on their laurels during the three-day experience.

“Basically, it was a chance to learn new stunts, cheers and dances that we could use for the upcoming football season.  And for that matter, we learned safety, as well,” Findley said.

There’s a rather large misconception regarding how physically demanding cheerleading can be at any level.  Despite the fact that this weekend’s camp wasn’t a competition, it still required hours of vigorous training and preparation.

“There are so many people who say that cheerleading isn’t a real sport, but I beg to differ,” Findley said. “We condition just like football players or players of any other sport.  We have four practices a week, and we take two of those to work the girls out because we always make the joke that football players lift weights, but we lift girls.

“We have to be just as strong as they are to lift a whole person in the air.  And to succeed at doing that, we take the time to condition our girls and make sure they’re as fit as they can be.  It takes a lot of skills and patience.”

In addition to the aforementioned accolades, six members of the squad were nominated for All-Star distinction, including Kaitlyn Neeese, Sydney Owens, De’Jah Bedgood, Rhiya Daniel, Alyssa Lear and Aniyah McClaney.

“Those girls basically were the ones who worked the hardest,” Findley added. “And not only that, but they also had great attitudes and showed leadership and sportsmanship.”

In addition, Rhiya Daniel and De’Jah Bedgood earned the notice of the UCA and were invited to return in 2017 to try out for the UCA squad themselves.

“As coaches, we were told when cheer camp first started that they would be looking at our seniors and seeing who would meet their criteria, and sure enough, our two girls did,” Findley said.

“To have those two girls from our team get the opportunity next year to try out once they graduate… they’re just on cloud nine right now.”

The varsity cheerleading squad will be in action once again at the end of July as they attempt to pass on what they’ve learned during the YMCA Pee-Wee cheerleading camp, held for aspiring cheerleaders ages 5-12.