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Poland cheerleaders raise funds, win awards

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Poland Seminary High School freshman, junior varsity and varsity cheerleaders have spent their summer improving their skills, winning awards and giving to charity.

The cheerleaders won the second-place trophy for competing in the Poland Relay for Life talent contest during the event July 8-9. The cheerleaders also joined other Poland students from Student Council, National Honor Society, Leadership and Volleyball to earn first place in Team Spirit, showing the most enthusiasm for the cause throughout the Relay.

Most impressively, the cheerleaders placed in the Bronze category for donations contributed, collecting more than $3,100 to help cure cancer.

In June, the girls, along with cheerleading advisers Cheryl Makoski, Julie Rinehart and Abby Aebischer, participated in a cheer camp organized by the Universal Cheerleading Association (UCA) at the University of Akron June 21-24.

At cheer camp, the Poland cheerleaders learned new cheers and dances, had skills training and competed against 17 squads from six other Ohio high schools. All training and competition was conducted under the supervision of the professional UCA staff. During the week, the girls performed Poland’s traditional Fight Song dance and competed original “home pom” dances that each squad choreographed and practiced throughout the spring.

This hard work paid off as the PSHS cheerleaders earned several trophies and individual awards. The varsity and junior varsity squads combined won the second-place trophy and the freshman squad took first place for their Extreme Routine dance, which they had learned at camp. The freshman squad also earned the Superior Squad Improvement Award.

The most prestigious camp honor, the Leadership Award, once again went to Poland for outstanding leadership qualities displayed by all Poland squads. This winning school is not chosen by UCA staff, but through votes cast by each participating squad.

The PSHS girls earned many individual honors, as well. Several Poland cheerleaders chose to compete to be named All-American by UCA staff. Freshman Emily Auth, sophomore Erica Kerr, juniors Mackenzie Clark, Kelly Aguilar and Natalie Dragovich and senior Courtney Sedall were named All-American.

Freshman Mackenzie Beck was a finalist in the Jump-Off competition. Freshman Danielle Voitus and junior Kelly Aguilar were awarded pins in UCA’s “Pin it Forward” program, where cheerleaders are selected for displaying exceptional personal leadership, spirit, commitment, friendliness and motivation.

Freshman Ashley Labatte and seniors Courtney Sedall, Kaitlyn Ducsay and Taylor Cougras earned a different UCA pin called “Grin it to Win it” for their outstanding, contagious smiles and outgoing personalities.