All-Star Cheerleaders busy in off-season | Sports | The Press and Standard
by The Press and Standard | January 6, 2017 5:00 am
Last Updated: January 4, 2017 at 1:41 pm
By CINDY CROSBY
The All-Star Cheerleaders are keeping busy since the culmination of the Colleton County All-Star Youth Travel Football season. Chances are you’ll see this hard-working group of cheerleaders soon enough yourself – especially if you attend a local basketball game.
Ranging in age from 5-13 years old, the All-Star Cheerleaders are directed by Cheer Director/Commissioner Donna “Mona” Grant, along with her assistant, Shanese Middleton. From August through November, you’ll find the All-Star Cheerleaders on the sidelines each Saturday, cheering on their football team.
Once football season ends, the group typically competes in a cheer competition; however, due to scheduling delays caused by Hurricane Matthew, this year’s competition was canceled. “Over the course of the past seven years, the cheer program has placed second, third, fourth and sixth in the competition,” said Grant. “We were disappointed we were unable to compete this year, but we are already planning for next season.”
According to Grant, at the end of the fall season, she and her coaching staff select an off-season squad to represent the All-Star Cheerleaders by participating in community events such as basketball games, parades and other local events. “The past four years, we have cheered for the USC Salkehatchie Indians basketball team,” said Grant. “We appreciate Mrs. Jane Brewer always extending the invitation to our girls at the start of each basketball season. They recently performed during halftime of the game dedicated to the memory of former Indian, Rashee Hodges. It was a bittersweet victory for the Indians and the girls performed their best show during halftime, along with cheering exceptionally well throughout the game.”
The All-Star Cheerleaders helped rock in the holidays by marching in the annual Walterboro Christmas Parade and put on a show for the judges. “They performed ‘Heartbeat,’ which is their favorite cheer, for the judges,” said Grant. “It blew the judges away and they placed second in the Marching Unit category. I was overjoyed when the award arrived in the mail and couldn’t wait to share the news with Coach Shanese, the girls and the entire league.”
On Dec. 17, the All-Star Cheerleaders performed during a Colleton County High School varsity girls’ and boys’ basketball game. “This was our first invitation to cheer at CCHS during basketball,” said Grant. “We’d like to thank Coach Perry Smalls for the invitation to cheer and thank Shakerra Green for helping ensure we had a place to practice leading to our appearance at the games. The girls did an outstanding job during both halftime performances and throughout the games. The crowd loved us, as did the staff, which was loving and welcoming to us. The cheerleaders were invited to come back and we anticipate another visit after the holidays.”
According to Grant, the All-Star program, established by Commissioner Craig A. Grant and Co-Commissioner Cornelius Hamilton, aims is to “make dreams a reality.” That effort has allowed the program to become one of the most successful within the league over the course of its seven years of existence. “We would like to thank all the youth who have come through our program and the parents who help to make sure their children are always student-athletes first,” Grant said.
The 2016 off-season roster includes: Imai Carter, Ja’ Meisha Stevens, Kristy Washington, Samauriah Breland, Kendra Daniels, Navi’yae Cunningham, Carneshia Dobson, T’leah Black, Lindsey Chapman, Kimora Johnson, Timiyah Behling, Kyla Shider, Payton Michaels and Tasca Rivers. Coaches are Mona Grant and Shanese Middleton.
The All-Stars will begin early registration for cheerleaders in February 2017. For further information, watch the Colleton County All-Star Youth Travel Football/Cheerleading League Facebook page for details set to be released in January.