Rebels win 4th AISA cheer championship

Published 9:30 am Friday, July 5, 2024

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The Lowndes Academy varsity and junior varsity (JV) cheerleaders attended camp in June, and one squad earned its fourth state championship in a row during the competition.

Rebel cheer squads participated in the Alabama Independent School Association (AISA) cheer camp and competitions hosted by Troy University at the Troy campus June 18 – 20. Both teams earned gold ribbons throughout the week and the junior varsity squad won the AISA Large Junior Varsity Championship for the fourth year in a row.

Coach Kristen Harrell said the JV squad earned accolades throughout the week, including a championship in the cheer category. The squad also placed second in the sideline category and third in camp dance.

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They also earned the team’s first ever win for the Leadership Award.

“The Leadership Award is the most prestigious award that you can win at camp,” Harrell said. “Our JV team was the first JV team to ever do that.”

Harrell coaches the squad alongside two assistants, former Rebel cheerleaders Molly Powell and Carolyn Jean Forest. The cheerleaders competed against roughly 18 other squads and also learned skills which helped them excel as student-athletes.

“[At camp] they are learning skills to be able to perform at pep rallies and games,” Harrell said. “It helps prepare them for our season.”

During the competition, girls were judged and selected for All-American squads which will have the opportunity to perform in the Walt Disney Thanksgiving Day Parade and the London New Years Day Parade. Varsity squad members Addi Bridges, Addison Callis, Katie Lockhart and Haylon Self were selected for the team that will travel to London. Mary Larkin Coker, Lily Hamit and Ann Kathryn Harrell were chosen for the JV team which will perform at Walt Disney World in November. 

In addition to helping the girls prepare for the cheer season, Harrell said attending the annual camp translates into life lessons the cheerleaders will use their whole lives.

“Going to camp and being a cheerleader helps you in all aspects of life,” Harrell said. “You have to juggle multiple things. It helps these young women to become great and do great things. It teaches them how to be a leader and become successful in life.”

Rising senior Haylon Self has attended the camp since her seventh-grade year. 

“It’s an amazing leadership opportunity,” Self said. “In my first year, I was super shy and reserved. Every year I’ve grown more accustomed to being around people and introducing myself.”

The experience has brought new friends too, Self said.

“It’s probably one of the best ways that I have been able to make new friends from other schools,” Self said. “It’s such a great opportunity to see people who have the same ideas and passions that I do and who care about representing their school and leading their school.”

Seniors tried out for the AISA All-Star team and the chance to cheer during the All-Star game in the fall. Seniors Addi Bridges, Katie Lockhart and Haylon Self were selected to represent Lowndes Academy, cheering on the East All-Stars squad.