PHS Cheerleaders Produce Nine All-Americans
Forty members of the Patriot varsity and junior varsity squads along with head coach Gayle Mace, assistant coach Sueanne Jones and jayvee coach Michelle Saunders attended the three-day camp.
It was the fifth year in a row that the team attended the camp that is run by Don Collins, the head coach of the UNC cheerleading and dance teams.
"We like to go because it has the same philosophy as we do as coaches," Mace said Wednesday. "I like the progression philosophy of Spirit Xpress. They don't allow them to try stunts beyond their ability. They have the safety of the students in mind.
"It's very grueling. It really tests them."
About 300 cheerleaders attended the camp. Members of the Patriot varsity selected as All-Americans were rising seniors Danielle Kelly and Lauren Leslie, junior Caitlyn Agee and sophomores Ashley Fox and Courtney Sasser. Fox also received an award for overall excellence.
The Patriot jayvee cheerleaders selected were rising sophomore Sarah Floyd and freshmen Allison Haller, Emily Kirby and Melanie Richardson.
"They're looking for kids that have athletic as well as leadership ability," Mace said of the selections.
The All-Americans have the opportunity to perform at one of two college bowl games or at one of the UNC football games. Last year, seniors Jessica Kondziola and Kaylee Seifert performed at a bowl game in Orlando.
Mace feels that she has an ambitious group of athletes to work with this year. The varsity team will be led by senior captains Lauren Leslie and Ashley Thornton, and senior co-captain Taylor Craven.
The Patriot coaches plan to stress pyramid stunts. The athletic squad includes two level 9 gymnasts on the varsity and a level 10 on the junior varsity.
"We have a really solid stunt base," Mace says. "I think people will be really wowed by what we do this year."
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