PELL CITY — The Pell City Junior High cheerleading squad has placed fourth in the Alabama State Cheer Competition.
The squad is made up of seventh- and eighth-grade girls from Duran South Junior High and Duran North Junior High, respectively. The group competed in the state competition for the first time early this month.
“This is the first time they have competed ever,” Head Cheer Coach Niya Crawford said.
She said despite their inexperienced and a challenging year because of the ongoing pandemic, the girls on the squad worked incredibly hard to make it to the competition.
She said the squad practiced four days and week and cheered at football and basketball games throughout the year while preparing for the competition. Crawford said on top of this heavy schedule she also required each member of the squad to keep up good grades to be allowed to participate.
She said before the squad could compete at the state level they were required to first compete in a regional competition that allowed only about 11 participants to move forward. She said while she is aware some schools may have not participated because of the pandemic, she still feels the squads accomplishments are incredible.
Crawford, who is also a teacher, said the jam packed season this year has taught the young ladies she coaches to be tough and has also taught her a lot as well.
This year has been Crawford's first year coaching, but with the help of competition coach Angie Gowan and the students themselves she has also grown through the course of the season. She said with their help she has learned to balance her new role.
“They helped make the process easier,” Crawford said.
She said she feels the squad has also really enjoyed the process and is excited to continue working towards placing higher next year. She said all of her current students have expressed interest in participating next year.
Crawford said the success would not be possible without the support of both the principals at both Duran South and North.