Thompson youth cheerleading gains momentum at recent competitions
Published 8:32 am Thursday, November 17, 2022
By EMILY REED | Special to the Reporter
ALABASTER – After competing in two large competitions this year, and placing in both team and individual awards, the Thompson youth fourth grade cheerleading squad is gaining momentum.
“We are just really proud of all of the work everyone has done this year,” said coach Jamie Hicks. “This is our second year competing and we just continue to grow and we hope to spread the word that we are out here and bringing the competition side to recreational cheerleading.”
The group of fourth graders consists of 18 girls, who practice two days a week at Buck Creek Park in Alabaster.
The season runs from July until November, and this year included a competition in Springville and a competition in Gardendale with the North Jefferson Cheer Competition where the squad placed third out of seven teams competing.
Hayden Hicks placed third out of 18 girls, and has also been the recipient of the Destiny Riekeberg Award, an achievement given in honor of the Pelham student who died in 2020 after battling a rare cancer.
“The award is really special because it is given by Destiny’s parents to a child they feel embodies Destiny’s love for cheer,” Hicks said. “It is really special.”
Aubrey Andrews also received 4th place out of 18 in the recent competition in Gardendale.
Hicks said the team has been excited at the opportunity to compete, and she anticipates more opportunities for competitions in 2023.
“I think the girls on the squad are just happy to be bringing the competition side of things to recreational cheer,” Hicks said. “They are kind of paving the way for the program and we have an amazing group of supportive parents who are behind this too. Currently we don’t really have anything like this in the schools, and it is important for girls to be taught at a young age so when they get into middle school and high school cheer they can already be seasoned.”
Hicks hopes to garner more interest in the program, and anticipates possibly adding a tryout process to the upcoming squad.
“The last two years we have had everyone who signed up for recreational cheer allowed to compete if they wanted to,” Hicks said. “I think for the future we will try and have some kind of tryout for those that want to compete.”
Hicks said she hopes to have more teams compete from Thompson in the future including different grade levels.
Anyone interested in participating in upcoming seasons with the cheerleading squad can sign up for cheerleading through the Alabaster Parks and Recreation website, which is typically posted in April or May.
Additional questions about the competition side can be directed to Hicks by contacting her at firstname.lastname@example.org.