Three cheerleaders from an Onslow County high school have made their way into teams in all states and all Americans.
Northside High School Senior Cheerleaders Hannah Bryant and Chayse Brown have been named Statewide Cheerleaders and Julissa Stewart Senior has been named All-American. After the tragic events of the fatal stabbing in Northside on September 1, the result gives the school something positive to focus on.
Coach Dolly Grosskopf has coached cheerleaders at Northside for about a decade and said she has never had cheerleaders in the entire state.
“It’s a very proud moment when you work very, very hard,” Grosskopf said. “It’s very disappointing when you send someone and you think, oh this person is going to make it, and they can’t make it. So, in a way I know what they expect now and I had a feeling that those girls were going to make it. So, it was a very, very proud moment. “
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Grosskopf said cheerleaders attend regional for all states in their freshman year and then try it out. If they succeed, they are appointed all-state for their senior years. He sent in three of his cheerleaders’ names and two of them made it.
“I think it was a great opportunity for both of us,” said Bryant, who has been cheering for six years. “I was very excited to have been chosen.”
Brown, who has been cheering for seven years, said she was a little surprised she did and really excited.
Bryant and Brown both work at Zaxby’s and were together when they received the email that sent it. They said about 80 cheerleaders have tried and only about 25 have been on the team. They also performed at NC Coaches Association East-West All-Star football and basketball games in July.
“When we were doing the basketball game, it was a lot of fun,” Bryant said. “It was a different kind of experience. It was like a kind of college cheer like we sat on the floor and cheered, we had to learn different cheers on the spot from different high schools.”
Brown said the experience was unnerving.
“For me, it was a very big arena and they warned us about it, but it literally felt like we were college cheerleaders, it was a whole different world,” Brown said. “Being there for such a short time, we had to move fast.”
Stewart’s experience was a little different, but still exciting.
For All-American, Stewart, who has been cheering for six years, said the proof is at their cheerleading camp at UNC-Chapel Hill, the Universal Cheerleaders Association’s camp. There are nearly two dozen schools from North Carolina and surrounding states that come to the camp and anyone can try. However, very few are selected.
“It was very exciting, and I would say nerve-wracking because you were in front of everyone who tried the field and you had the UCA staff who really judged you and it was very unnerving,” said Stewart.
Stewart also had the opportunity to choose from a variety of places to cheer on as part of the team. He chose the Pearl Harbor Parade in Hawaii in December.
Grosskopf said Bryant and Brown also saw other opportunities making their way. At the camp, one of the instructors told Brown that she needed to become an instructor there because of her talent. Grosskopf also sent a photo of the team to the university rep and the rep took a liking to Bryant, saying she had to be a model for their catalog.
In addition to killing him in the cheerleading game, all three women are maintaining good grades with over 4.0 GPAs and job jobs. Bryant said he keeps up with all of this by sleeping a lot.
“It just takes a lot of time, effort and organization to be able to balance all of these different things that you have going on,” Brown said. “It basically helps us prepare for the future. I just think about how I do the work I do now, I can enjoy it later.”
Grosskopf said he thinks the tight schedule helps them manage their time better because when he has too much time on his hands, he wastes it.
In addition to finishing high school, all three cheerleaders have big plans for the future.
“After high school, I am going to try to join the Naval Academy and if I do, I will try to join the team in spirit and cheer,” said Stewart. “If not, I’ll join the Navy, but cheering and dancing and all that will always be something I love to do and every opportunity, I’ll take it and try to do it.”
Brown plans to go to Chapel Hill to study biology in hopes of becoming a dentist. He also hopes to cheer on in college. Bryant also plans to go to Chapel Hill, though she said she’s undecided about what she wants to do. However, he said it is very business oriented.
For cheerleaders hoping to be as successful as these, all three women say to keep practicing and not to get lazy.
“If you are determined and believe in yourself, you will excel at what you want to do, cheerleading or any other sport you want to do, you will excel if you believe in yourself and are determined,” said Stewart.
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Brown said he feels you should always try your hardest and know that even if you think you’re the best, someone out there is always better than you.
“So you have to keep working hard, not comparing yourself to others, keep practicing, practice day and night,” Brown said.
Grosskopf agrees, saying she wasn’t a cheerleader herself, but more of a school dancer. Because of this, she worked hard by going to clinics and several training courses to make sure she could learn how to help improve those girls.
He said it was great to see his hard work paid off as well.
“The advice I would give to others is that you have to have a coachable student,” Grosskopf said. “You can have the most talented cheerleader, but if they don’t listen to you, you don’t always win and it’s the guys who are trainable who follow the advice, take direction and take corrections that cross the finish line first and that’s how these girls are. . They take all my advice, they don’t answer, they do whatever is asked for and they do it over and over and over. It took me a long time to get a team like this. “
Journalist Morgan Starling can be reached at email@example.com