Morgan Academy’s junior varsity cheerleaders claim title

Published 11:31 pm Monday, October 1, 2012

The Morgan Academy junior varsity cheerleaders won their first AISA AAA state championship recently. Members of the squad are, front row from left, Karli Rabb, Alisa Adkison (co-head); Jane Anne Stewart (head); Owen Robertson, Mary Stewart, Sophie Talton (secretary); back row from left, Ali Nettles, Anna Williard, Louise Stewart, Lauren Thomas, Jheryl Porter, Cassidy Lawrence, Annie Talton, Anna Catherine King and Annie Speed. --Robert Hudson

Imagine the pressure of being in a competition where all your work, effort and practice comes down to a mere moment in time — a two minute, 30 second nerve-racking routine that determines whether you win or lose.

The Morgan Academy junior varsity cheerleaders met that challenge, bringing home the Alabama Independent School Association AAA state cheerleading championship.

The competition was held at the Renaissance Hotel Sept. 29 and first-year coach Tiffany Nettles said her squad bringing home the trophy was affirmation of all the hard work the girls had invested to become state champs.

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“It’s a lot of pressure but they practiced and worked hard, stayed after school, spent weekends working on their routines and juggled practicing for games and doing pep rallies,” Nettles said. “They’ve put in a lot of time and effort and it shows their dedication. I couldn’t be more proud of them.”

In addition to after school practice, the girls also spent weekends practicing at the Cheer Authority in Tuscaloosa, something team captain Jane Anne Stewart said helped hone their routines and their confidence.

“We’ve been going to Tuscaloosa on Sundays for about two months and working every day in the gym,” said Stewart, a ninth grader who is in her third year on the JV squad. “It was really nerve-racking but when we got out there is was really fun because the whole crowd was cheering for us.”

Nettles, who also coaches the peewee and varsity squads, heaped praise on her girls.

“They do all the work,” Nettles said. “I’m just the grown up in charge. I’m just there and smile and say ‘good job,’ now let’s do that again.”

Prior to taking the stage, Stewart said the squad came together one last time.

“I gathered everyone up and we prayed for a minute, and walked out there and did it.”