More than shaking pom-poms

  • Friday, August 8, 2014

Chris Sokoloski/South Strand News Members of Georgetown High School’s competitive cheerleading squad work on choreography inside the school gym. It’s the first time in nine years the school has had a competitive squad.

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After a nine-year absence, competitive cheerleading has returned to Georgetown High School.

Kayla Terhune, who was a member of the last competitive squad in 2005, is head coach of the new squad.

“There just needs to be an awareness for cheerleading in this area,” Terhune said. “The Upper State is so dominant with cheerleading and gymnastics and tumbling.

There’s talent here in the Lower State, but in Georgetown County there’s nowhere that really harvests that.”

Twenty-four girls from the B-team, junior varsity and varsity squads have been inside the school gym this week for choreography camp.

Practice with the competitive squad is in addition to practice with the other squads.

“Their dedication level is intense, as well as their athleticism,” said assistant coach Carolyn Casselman. “Once we get this routine out there it will showcase that they really are athletes.”

Casselman is Terhune’s mother, and she coached the competitive squad in 2005.

Competitive cheerleading squads perform 2 minute, 30 second routines that feature elite stunting, jumping, dancing and tumbling against other squads.

“It really brings an awareness to the athleticism of these girls,” Casselman. “They’re doing a lot more than just shaking pom-poms and jumping up and down.”

“Although these girls are part of the regular squad that performs for football and basketball, they have to have the mindset that they want to be more than that,” Terhune said. “They want to be a little bit more athletic.”

“It’s a lot harder because we have to put our strength into it too,” said senior Brooke Gray, who has been a cheerleader since seventh grade. “We have a lot of pressure on us because … especially with a flyer, we have to stick it every time. It’s a lot of pressure.”

Sophomore Ketorah Holmes, who has been cheering for two years, likes that the competitive stunts are a lot harder.

“I really like cheerleading and I feel like it’s better to compete … and see what I need to learn how to do and become a stronger person by watching other teams.” Holmes said.

The stunts are also a favorite for Gray.

“I’ve always liked stunting more than actual cheering,” Gray said. “That’s my favorite part of cheering.”

Mary Cooper Jordan, a sophomore who has been cheering for four years, agreed.

“I’ve always seen the competitive side more of a sport,” Jordan said. “More jumping, more tumbling, more active.”

Jordan also runs cross-country for Georgetown High and said the sports complement each other because they both make her legs stronger.

Terhune and Casselman hope to bring the squad to about six competitions this year, including Lower State and State.

After restarting the squad with no budget, support from the community has started to grow.

“A lot of people are really excited about seeing this come back to this area,” Terhune said.

The school bought two mats and the school’s Booster Club bought a mat for the girls to practice on. However, the squad needs seven mats to host a competition.

For more information about supporting or sponsoring the team, email Terhune at kterhune@gcsd.k12.sc.us.

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