ANDERSON – Three teams with Anderson’s Invasion Champion Force Cheer recently returned home with three national championships.
Two teams won national titles in Myrtle Beach and a third national crown was won in Grand Rapids.
Kaylee Cottrell is the business owner and coach, who creates the applause and accompanying music.
“I’ve been coaching the program for nine years,” Cottrell said. “The cheerleading business has been around for a long time.”
Anderson’s facility is part of a national chain of cheerleading organizations.
Anderson Cyclone won Division 4, Anderson Shock Wave won Division 6, and Bolt won Division 3 in the Champion Force Athletics championship.
Cottrell said there are 13 teams in seven different divisions at Anderson, with more than 300 kids participating.
“It’s really exciting,” she said. “We love what we do. It’s a passion of mine, giving back to the young people in our community.”
Cottrell said she was a cheerleader at East Side Middle School and Highland High School.
“Nine years ago they needed a coach back then,” she said. “I checked and got into something I had no idea about. It’s a completely different environment than the one I grew up in and fell in love with.”
Cottrell said the shows about different things for people with varied backgrounds.
“It was really amazing,” she said of winning three national championships. “It was totally unexpected. I thought we had a chance, but with cheerleaders you never know how a cookie is going to dent.”
Cottrell said the three teams performed at their best all season.
“Our Division 6 team really had to fight for this,” she explained. “They had to perform twice and took third place after the first day. On the second day, they reached the top.
“For all three teams, winning was a shock,” said Cottrell.
Eighty percent of the children who participate in the local teams are from the Madison County area, she said.
Cobie Buckingham is the Vice President of Champion Force Athletics, based in Grand Rapids.
“My daughter comes to the Anderson program to take classes,” she said.
Buckingham said she was a gymnast at Ball State University.
“Competition has been around since the 1990s, but it really took off from cheerleading to competitive cheerleading,” she said. “Now we have our own cheerleaders cheering for our teams.”
Buckingham said it was phenomenal for Anderson to win three national championships.
“Kaylee runs a great show, she’s so organized and creative with her routines,” she said.
Twin sisters Marlie and Morgan Holtzleiter, 16, are juniors at Daleville High School and are cheerleaders at the school and Anderson Invasion.
“We’ve been rooting for five years,” Marlie said. “Once we were in third place after day one, we weren’t too nervous. I was confident that we could finish first.”
Both girls have always wanted to be cheerleaders and enjoy meeting new people.
“The hardest part is getting to know the new people and the competition,” Morgan said.
Both said Cottrell is an incredible coach and mentor.
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