COAL TOWNSHIP — A competition cheerleading squad from Penn State University will perform in exhibition during the District 4 Competitive Spirit Championship Saturday afternoon at Shamokin Area Middle/High School.
Event chairman Chris Venna said the Nittany Lions will perform around 1 p.m. as judges tabulate the scores of 12 high school teams attempting to advance to the seventh annual Competition Spirit Championships at the Giant Center in Hershey Friday, Jan 11, and Saturday, Jan 12.
“It’s good for the (high school athletes) and it helps Penn State prepare for nationals,” Venna said of the special performance.
Shamokin coach Tammy Rhodes said she was contacted by Jess Chelik, an assistant cheerleading coach at Penn State and the Indians’ representative from Varsity Spirit, a company that sells cheerleading and dance apparel, about performing at the district competition.
The event begins at noon with squads performing about every five minutes. The PIAA allows District 4 to send five squads to states for a total of 120 entries. The winners of medium varsity (16 to 20 members), co-ed (at least one male), large varsity (21 members and over) and small varsity (no more than 15 members), as well as the next highest scoring team, will advance.
Squads will have 2 1⁄2 minutes to perform a cheer and a music routine. Three judges calculate a final score based on difficultly and execution.
The schedule is as follows: medium varsity, Milton and Warrior Run; co-ed, Canton and Williamsport; large varsity, Bloomsburg, Hughesville, Shamokin and Montoursville; small varsity, Troy, Southern Columbia, Sugar Valley and Jersey Shore.
The Indians are looking to again qualify for states after placing second in large varsity and achieving the third highest score (189.5), only behind powerful performances of Southern Columbia (234.5) and Milton (198), during last year’s competition.
The Tigers, coached by Kenda Roth and performing in small varsity, will attempt to defend their district title and improve on their 13th-place finish at the state competition.