Local schools excel at AISA cheer competition

Published 8:00 am Sunday, July 16, 2023

Three local schools, Lowndes Academy , Crenshaw Christian Academy (CCA), and Fort Dale Academy (FDA), attended the Alabama Independent School Association (AISA) cheerleading camp and competition June 19-22 at Troy University. Each team walked away with either ribbons or trophies and with a total of 467 cheerleaders in attendance at the competition, the school’s cheer coaches are proud of everyone’s hard work, and happy for all the new memories made. 

Lowndes Academy junior and varsity cheer coach Kristen Harrell shared that the cheerleaders have a full schedule everyday while at camp.

“It’s a neat experience to attend camp and meet people from different schools,” Harrell said. “You sometimes become lifelong friends with some you meet, but it’s a competitive atmosphere as well.”

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All teams learned and competed in an extreme dance routine, a sideline cheer, a band chant, and a standard cheer. Teams also created a stunt-in-corp choreography routine created prior to the camp, and competed for the spirit stick. 

The junior varsity Lowndes team won the 2023 AISA Cheerleading State Champions title for the third year in a row. They were second in sideline cheer, runner-up champions in the camp dance routine, and cheer champions and also earned gold superior ribbons all week during evaluations. 

The Rebels varsity team won runner up AISA State Champions. They were cheer champs, came second in sideline cheer and third in camp dance routine. 

The CCA junior varsity team earned blue superior ribbons for their sideline and cheer evaluation, a blue superior ribbon for their extreme routine evaluation, and a superior trophy for receiving superior marks all week.

The CCA varsity team also received a blue superior ribbon for their extreme dance routine, a blue superior trophy, and the team was awarded the spirit stick everyday and was given it to bring back to CCA. 

The FDA junior varsity team was awarded two blue superior ribbons, two spirit sticks, fourth place trophy for sideline cheer, and third place trophy for game day cheer. 

The Eagles varsity team earned two blue superior ribbons, two spirit sticks, and a blue superior trophy for overall camp dance routine and game day performance. 

“I am so proud of the girls and how hard they have worked not only at camp but all summer long,” said Chrystal Frost, CCA varsity coach. “They were able to work together to learn multiple cheers, sideline chants, an extreme routine, plus new stunts and transitions at camp. They were able to perform these in just a short time to an excellent level. We learned, myself included, that this year is going to come with ups and downs but we’re a team first. Everything else ‘outside’ waits until we’re not cheering or practicing.”

All teams had a chance to try out for the Universal Cheerleaders Association (UCA) All-American team. Junior varsity girls who make the team have the opportunity to cheer at Disney World for Thanksgiving, and the varsity all-star team has the opportunity to cheer at New Years in London. 

From Lowndes, Kinlee Dismukes and Mary Ellen Azar were chosen for junior varsity UCA All-American team, and Carolyn Jean Forest and Bella Robitaille were chosen for varsity UCA All-American team.

Judges selected Emilee Jacobs, Savanna Strickland, and Annabella Trotter from CCA for junior varsity UCA All-American team, and Reese Mitchell and Alee Jacobs were chosen for varsity UCA All-American team.

From FDA, Preslie Rutland, Sarah Allen Meadows, Carsyn Smith, and Bradleigh Hickman were chosen for junior varsity UCA All-American team, and Kate Turner and Zoe Coon earned a spot on the varsity UCA All-American team. Zoe Coon was also chosen for the AISA All-Star Team. 

“This group has reminded me of why I fell in love with coaching and teaching,” said Natalie Lankford, Cougars junior varsity coach. “It’s so much bigger than honor rolls and trophies. It’s those little moments that move your heart when they realize what they are capable of and watching them experience those things for the first time.”

The UCA staff also selects daily Pin It Forward winners. These are girls that stand out that day as great teammates. The Lowndes junior varsity cheerleader, Lexi Hagood, took home a Pin It Forward award, and along with varsity team members, Ann Kathryn Harrell and Carolyn Jean Forest. Junior varsity cheerleader, Emilee Jacobs, earned the award for CCA. Junior varsity cheerleader Morgan Slagley and varsity cheerleader Blaire Reid were awarded from FDA. 

“The girls always look forward to going to camp every year,” said Ginger Salter, FDA junior and varsity coach. “They love seeing the UCA Staff and have fun getting to know and learn from them during the week. They gained confidence in themselves and each other, built sweet friendships and created memories that will last a lifetime! We are more than ready and looking forward to cheering on our Eagles under those Friday night lights this fall!”