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A Cheerleader’s Achievements

By: Madison Makosky/Junior Writer

In February 2023, for the first time ever, the BR Athlete of the Month award was given to a Blue Ridge cheerleader.

The award is given to recognize an athlete who has exhibited outstanding skill in both practice and competition. Athletic Director Nick Swaha, chooses who becomes athlete of the month. For the month of February, Avery Thomas was nominated as athlete of the month for cheerleading. 

Avery feels very good about herself. She says, “I feel like I have proven cheerleading is a sport and isn’t as easy as people may think. It feels worth it after all the times I flip and get thrown around in the air constantly.”

Avery Thomas flying at the Mohegan Sun Arena in the game against the Holy Cross Crusaders for boys basketball Photo Credits to Coach Fran

Athletic Director, Nick Swaha, shares his input on how he chooses the athlete of the month.

“I want to share the wealth, meaning to make sure no one gets athlete of the month multiple times for the same thing. I chose a cheerleader because a cheerleader has never gotten recognized in the past for it,” Swaha says. 

Swaha also says, “I chose Avery because she always continues to show effort in flying and always willing to go above and beyond.” 

Avery’s cheer coach, Lori Zawiski, says, “Avery is an amazing cheerleader. She stays out of drama and always does whatever is asked of her. She is always working hard to do new skills we didn’t know she could do.” 

She also says, ” I couldn’t be any happier that she got athlete of the month, it is well deserved! She always pushes herself and always does it with a smile on her face.”

Her other cheer coach, Carissa Zawiski, said, ” Avery came in last year as a freshman who has never cheered before. She was shy and quiet. We simply asked if she wanted to try flying and she said sure. From that point on, she became a star.”


Follow the BR cheerleaders on Instagram:

Read Kate Scott’s article about BR’s best athletes:




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Madison Makosky
Madison Makosky
Madison is a senior at Blue Ridge where she is a cheerleader for basketball and football. She also enjoys playing first base for the girls' softball team and making many memories with friends.
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