Allie Mitchell

Allie Mitchell owns and coaches at Cheaha Cheer & Tumble in Anniston. Cheaha Cheer & Tumble is holding an interest meeting for a CheerAbilities team for athletes with special needs this Friday at 7:30 p.m. at Cheaha Cheer & Tumble, 1505 Sentinel Drive in Anniston.

What is your background in cheer and tumble?

I started cheering when I was in sixth grade; I did All Star cheerleading, which is what we do at Cheaha Cheer & Tumble, as well as school cheerleading for several years. I decided All Star cheerleading was more of my passion, so I stopped cheering at the school and did All Star until I went to college. I started coaching at the gym where I was cheering when I was 14, and I coached there even until I was a junior in college.

What are the differences between All Star cheerleading and school cheerleading?

They are different styles of the sport. School cheerleaders often do also compete, but both styles look different. School cheerleading often still has cheers and chants, whereas we do not say any cheers. Some school cheerleading programs are very competitive. What we do at Cheaha Cheer & Tumble is All Star cheerleading, but we work with local school cheerleading programs to help them prepare for competitions.

Is tumbling an activity your students can compete in?

Tumbling, for us, is a foundation for cheerleading; they do a lot of tumbling in our routines. Being strong in that aspect of the sport is a huge part of what we do for our competition teams. It is mostly recreational tumbling that we do here. It is cool to learn how to flip and tumble, and it helps keep them strong and flexible, and the athletes enjoy it.

What is Cheaha Cheer and Tumble?

We officially opened our doors in July 2012. We started out in the Northeast Alabama Entrepreneurial Center. We were in one of their manufacturing bays, and a few months into it, we needed to expand into the manufacturing bay that opened up into ours. We added All Star cheerleading the winter we opened, and we continued to grow and add different classes and teams. In March 2014, we opened in our current location. We expanded our cheerleading program and went from one team to two teams. Since then, we have been able to add 4,000 square feet to our building. We will have seven competitive teams this year, and we are hoping to have a team for athletes with special needs, as well.

How many competitions do your teams participate in?

Each year, our teams go to at least five events, and of course, we have to travel to those: Birmingham, Atlanta, Nashville, Gatlinburg. This past year, we went to an additional event with our senior team because they received a full paid bid to a nationals qualifying event.

What classes does Cheaha Cheer & Tumble offer?

The majority of what we do is small group tumbling. We have Mommy-and-Me tumbling for students younger than 4 years old [ and ] our All Star cheerleading teams. We currently have openings, and those can be viewed on our website, cheahacheerandtumble.com.

Tell us about the CheerAbilities team.

As we have traveled to different competitions, we have had the privilege of seeing these awesome CheerAbilities teams for athletes with special needs. So many folks have told me that we need something like this. It is so wonderful and impressive to watch these athletes competing. It is awesome! It will be great for our community to have another opportunity for individuals to learn and grow and have fun.

Faith Dorn is a freelance writer in Anniston. Contact her at faith.h.dorn@gmail.com.

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