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A new Competitive Cheer Team Comes to Blue Ridge

By: Emily McCarthy/ Junior Writer

Blue Ridge Creates New Opportunities for its students

Competition Cheer was approved as a new sport at Blue Ridge High School at the June 23, 2023 school board meeting. The season started on August 14 and, depending on how well the team does in competition, they may be headed to the PIAA Competitive Spirit Championships in January.

The head Competition Cheer coach, Lori Zawiski explains why Competition Cheer has came to our school, saying: “Because we have an amazing group of talented girls that deserve a chance to compete.”

Blue Ridge Athletic Director Nick Swaha, says: “We felt as a department that as cheerleading continues to grow, we should give our students who are interested in competing an opportunity to continue those interests on a bigger stage.” 

However, many people question if cheerleading is a sport. Due to this misunderstanding, there aren’t many opportunities in small communities like Blue Ridge. This new competition team is paired with fabulous coaches Lori and Carissa Zawiski, who have put much work into making more opportunities for students interested in cheer.

What is Competition Cheer?

Competition Cheer is very different compared to well-known basketball and football cheer. Competition cheer is competitively known as spirit squads. Spirit cheer is just like any other non-contact competitive sport. For a typical cheerleading competition, squads perform a two and a half minute routine with music that includes stunts, jumps, tumbling, and dance. The teams all have categories they fall into to compete against, with the teams being judged by a panel of cheerleading experts on difficulty and execution.

Blue Ridges athletic director Swaha states that, “Competition Cheer is a new way to develop our school statewide. It allows more students to be excited to attend Blue Ridge. Not only giving them more opportunities, but also giving experienced cheerleaders a more challenging and competitive version of cheer itself.” 

The Blue Ridge High School Competitive Cheer Team uniform for 2023-2024. The cheer team is a new addition at the school. Photo by: Emily McCarthy/Senior Writer
The Blue Ridge High School Competitive Cheer Team uniform for 2023-2024. The cheer team is a new addition at the school. Photo by: Emily McCarthy/Senior Writer

Follow Blue Ridge Sports here: https://www.blueridgeraiders.org/

Learn More about Competition Cheer here: https://www.varsity.com/news/what-is-competitive-cheerleading/

Learn about this year’s new Football Cheer Coach: https://www.raiderreader.org/new-football-cheer-coach-2023/

Watch last year’s 2023 PIAA State Cheer Championship:

on January 26 and 27 at the Giant Center in Hershey, PA.

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Emily McCarthy
Emily McCarthy
Emily McCarthy is a junior at Blue Ridge High School, where she is the treasure of her class. Emily is a member of many clubs including Art club, Science club, FBLA, Leo club, student council, and SADD. Emily loves to cheer, she does competition along with basketball cheer. One of her favorite things to do outside of school is spending time with friends and family. 
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