A New Kind of Cheer 4

Ready…okay! Competitive cheer in the Johns Creek and Alpharetta areas has catapulted in recent years, and the training regimens and athleticism of the athletes are not to be overlooked. What could be considered three sports in one, competitive cheer allows girls to work on their flexibility, weightlifting, and endurance all while striking that picture-perfect pose and maintaining the utmost composure. But, it’s not simply all about the high school team or strictly focusing on the local All-Star gym. These girls are training year round to focus on their sideline stunts and competitive cheers.

Alpharetta High School and the Stingray Allstars work together to train the local athletes who are passionate about their sport. It’s not all pom poms, hairspray and sparkles for these girls. They’re focused on their academics as well as improving their talents on the mats. AHS utilizes the Stingray’s gym and coaches once per week during season, which truly provides the team with the best coaching around:  Varsity Competition Coach Colleen Greathouse oversees the school spirit, Stingrays Coach and Marketing Coordinator Jamie Rogersand and All-Star and Tumbling Coach Blake Archer focus on the Stingrays, and the rest of the staff offers great support as well.

Greathouse regocnizes that cheerleading can be incredibly challenging, but Johns Creek and Alpharetta’s local talent is exceptional.

“This area is so competitive,” Greathouse says. “There are more gyms and more kids, and it’s such a talented area.”

Greathouse is forever grateful for the assistance that the AHS cheerleaders receive from the coaches at the local gym. Rogers and Archer thoroughly enjoy working with the added talent of the high school girls as well. The best way to hone cheerleading skills is to participate in both high school cheer and an All Star gym. Camryn Fetzer and her mother, Erin, are actively involved in the AHS Competition team and with Stingray’s Allstar Black Diamond team. They recognize the benefits of working with the two programs.

“Like any high level sport, it takes a lot of time, dedication, hard work, and it can be expensive,” Erin says. “But the cheerleaders gain so much from it. They make a lot of loyal friends and have coaches that support and inspire them. They learn lessons that they will carry through life, like the value of teamwork, dedication and perseverance. They learn how to manage their time between school, the gym and their other interests.”

For other girls looking to step up their cheer presence, Rogers an Archer say that expressing interest in the important first step. The Stingrays always have annual tryouts, but the teams tend to be open until full, or a waitlist option may be possible as well. The investment in training makes a distinct difference.

“The talent pool keeps growing,” Rogers says. “By doing school and All Star cheer, the girls have no issues with their tryouts because they’re seasoned athletes and have additional abilities they’ve trained for inside their competition routines. There’s a noticeable advantage of doing both.”

Cheerleading takes commitment to the sport, to your teammates and coaches, and to yourself, but the feeling after hitting that peak stunt and striking that final pose make the hard work and long hours worth it.

“When the girls’ see their peers’ faces during the pep rallies, that’s when they know what it’s all about,” Greathouse says. “You don’t completely realize what all goes into cheer, but the talent of these girls proves it really is a sport.”