By Jalisa Bannerman
After over 900 cheerleaders from the Sound Mind Sound Body Youth League competed in October’s local qualifier competition, seven organizations advanced to compete in the AYC’s Midwest Regionals in Indianapolis, Indiana. Three hundred cheerleaders, coaches, and supporters traveled to The Shooting For The Stars Cheer Regionals mid-November to compete against contestants from Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, and Ohio.
The SMSB League was represented by 26 of the most elite cheer teams within the inner city. Each team traveled to Falls Creek Middle School in Indiana, where their performance would determine their chance of advancing to the AYC Nationals in Kissimmee, Florida. Before performing in front of a national judge panel, teams were instructed to work within strict parameters. Thirteen SMSB teams placed first in cheer, dance, and pom categories and earned a bronze bid toward the YCADA Globals in February.
For SMSB, the mission to reduce disparities amongst under-served female student-athletes comes with being heedful of exposure, opportunities, and resources. Early experiences are monumental and produces greater chances of perfecting a craft needed on the high school, collegiate, and professional levels. Throughout the season, every organization attended an AYC-provided stunt clinic to learn the basics, followed by a hands-on stunt clinic where squads were safely taught stunting techniques and encouraged to embrace a method that could open doors to scholarships. Many inner-city cheerleaders saw stunting for the first time during the HBCU weekend held by SMSB. Sub-Committee Chair of Cheer for SMSB, Lisa Sampson, stated, “The cheerleaders have grasped cheering and stunting, and they are excelling remarkably. Being afforded opportunities to travel and perfect what they are learning has raised the bar of expectation in their eyes. They now see cheer as a scholarship sport and have high hopes.”
Nine out of 11 organizations will be traveling to Kissimmee, Florida, to compete December 7-12th in the AYC Nationals held at the Silver Spurs Arena. Twenty teams from the Detroit City Lions, Detroit Spartans, Detroit Titans, Midwest Elite Storm, Westside Cubs, West 7 Rams, and River Rouge Panthers organizations will compete in levels 8U to 14U. Cheer coordinator for the River Rouge Panthers, Erica Cole, shared, “We learned a lot of new stunts this year, and the girls are willing to try anything. I love seeing them compete at this level. Traveling and doing what they do is a great experience and exposure for all the girls.”
Our 13 first-place teams from the AYC’s Midwest Regionals: 8U Cheer Level 1 Large: West 7 Rams, 10U Cheer Level 2 Small: Detroit Spartans, 12U Cheer Level 2 Small: West Side Cubs, 14U Cheer Level 2 Small: DC Lions, 14U Cheer Level 1 Large: West 7 Rams, 14 Elite-Team Cheer Level 2: Midwest Elite Storm, 8U Pom: Southfield Falcons, 10U Pom: Southfield Falcons, 14U Pom: Southfield Falcons, 8U Dance Hip-Hop: River Rouge Panthers, 10U Hip-Hop: West Side Cubs, 12U Hip-Hop: West Side Cubs, 14U Hip-Hop: West 7 Rams.
Additional competition pictures can be found HERE.
Sound Mind Sound Body Youth League has over 2,500 student-athletes committed to successfully prioritizing and balancing school and sports. Sound Mind Sound Body’s after-school program is composed of a unique curriculum that combines life skills, athleticism, and academics