Pyramid power

Local cheerleading team shows off skills

The local cheerleading squad for Champion Force of Michigan displays its skills on Tuesday during Parents Night at Superior Hills Elementary School in Marquette. The members come from throughout Marquette County. (Journal photo by Christie Bleck)

By CHRISTIE BLECK

Journal Staff Writer

MARQUETTE — Making a human pyramid isn’t always as easy as it looks, no matter what the skill level, but that’s what young area cheerleaders were trying — and succeeding at — Tuesday night in the Superior Hills Elementary School gymnasium.

The Marquette-area cheer squad for Champion Force of Michigan displayed their skills during Parents Night, with various age groups performing routines.

The cheerleading program of Champion Force, based in downstate Wyoming, is for beginners as well as intermediate- and advanced-level students, with athletes learning the fundamentals of cheer and dance such as cheers, chants, jumps, stunts, dance routines and performing in front of an audience.

Not only are their skills diverse, the makeup of the team is too.

Amanda Garcia, a Northern Michigan University student, is in her second year of coaching Champion Force-Marquette, the members of which are from Marquette County and are not affiliated with any one school.

Each division is based on age, she said, with the oldest participants, the Division 4 group, having qualified on Monday for the national tournament scheduled for Orlando, Florida in July.

“They all learn a routine throughout the season,” Garcia said. “They compete at the regional level, and if they advance, they go on to states.”

Nationals then is the next step.

Along the way, the members learn dance and stunt fundamentals.

“They do it to music — super fun,” Garcia said.

Tuesday’s event came with refreshments and a celebratory air.

It demonstrated, too, how challenging the routines can be, with several attempts having to be made with some of the pyramid moves.

“It’s the last practice of the season, so all the parents come,” Garcia said. “They celebrate together. They show off the routines that they learned this season.”

The new season, she said, kicks off Feb. 5.

Maeganne Scott, a student with the Upper Peninsula Virtual Academy, has been a part of the program for two years.

Getting exercise for her is one reason she participates, but it also has a social aspect.

“I love stunting and tumbling and all the team bonding we get to have,” Scott said.

Parents had the opportunity to view that on Tuesday. One of those parents was Kristine Beltrame, the mother of Delaney Bemis, an eighth-grader at Gwinn Middle School.

Beltrame already has seen her daughter compete.

“I love it,” Beltrame said. “She loves it. She absolutely loves it, and it’s from different schools, so it’s not just her school.”

The Champion Force program, she noted, teaches her daughter advanced cheerleading skills she can’t get in a regular school program.

Garcia said her Division 4 team hopes to raise about $1,000 per participant for their Florida trip. Anyone wishing to help financially may visit her Facebook page at Amanda Garcia CF or email her at amanda22697@yahoo.com.

For more information about Champion Force of Michigan, visit championforce.com/michigan.

Christie Bleck can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 250. Her email address is cbleck@miningjournal.net.

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