Posted at 8:32 am on Thursday, November 17, 2022
A group of fourth grade girls are competing this year, representing Thompson Youth in the fourth grade cheerleading competitions. (Contributed
Hayden Hicks received third place out of 18 girls in a more recent competition and received the Destiny Riekeberg Award. (Contributed)
By EMILY REED | Special for the Reporter
ALABASTER – After competing in two major competitions this year, and placing in both individual and team awards, the fourth-grade Thompson Youth Cheerleading Team is gaining momentum.
“We are very proud of all the work everyone has done this year,” said head coach Jamie Hicks. “This is our second year competing and we continue to grow and we look forward to spreading the word that we are here and bringing the competition side of things to recreational cheerleading.”
The fourth-grade group is made up of 18 girls, who practice two days a week at Buck Creek Park in Alabaster.
The season runs from July through November, and this year included a competition in Springville and a competition in Gardendale with the North Jefferson Cheer Competition, where the team placed third out of seven competing teams.
Hayden Hicks was third out of 18 girls and also received the Destiny Riekeberg Award, an achievement given in honor of the Pelham student who died in 2020 after battling rare cancer.
“The award is really special because it is given by Destiny Parents to a child they feel embodies Destiny’s love of joy,” said Hicks. “It really is special.”
Aubrey Andrews also received 4th place out of 18 in the recent competition at Gardendale.
Hicks said the team is excited about the opportunity to compete and anticipates more competition opportunities in 2023.
“I think the girls on the team are happy to bring the competitive side of things to the recreational crowd,” said Hicks. “They are paving the way for the program and we have an incredible group of parents who support us and are also behind this. Currently, we really don’t have anything like this in schools, and it’s important for girls to learn from an early age, so that when they enter middle school and high school, they can already be experienced.
Hicks hopes to generate more interest in the program and anticipates the possibility of adding a testing process to the next team.
“For the past two years, anyone who signed up for recreational cheerleading could compete if they wanted to,” Hicks said. “I think that in the future we will try to do some kind of selective for those who want to compete.”
Hicks said he hopes to have more teams compete with Thompson in the future, including different ranking levels.
Anyone interested in participating in upcoming seasons with the cheerleading squad can apply to be a cheerleader on the Alabaster Parks and Recreation website, which is typically posted in April or May.
Additional questions on the competition side can be directed to Hicks by contacting her at email@example.com.