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Jr. Zebras cheer squads take home top prizes at JAMZ Reload

Mitey Mites, PeeWees, and Midgets are No 1
By: Jim Linsdau News Messenger Sports
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STOCKTON _ The Jr. Zebras football teams aren’t the only ones making a name for themselves as the organization’s cheer squads claimed three of the five top spots at the JAMZ Reload competition, Friday. The Mitey Mites, PeeWees, and Midgets cheer squads were well up to the task as they went up against nearly 70 other squads. The competition was broken up into age groups so younger performers weren’t competing against the older, more experienced, cheerleaders. Sunshine Handley’s Mitey Mites earned the blue ribbons thanks to the following cheerleaders, who perform every Saturday at regular season football games: Gabi Blanco, Lexi Brandon, Kate Browning, Leila Burns, Madilyn Cook, Maya Delgado, Jocelyn Douglas, Mackenzie Fox, Angela Fries, Samantha Fries, Martine Gilbeau, Kenna Gordon, Angelica Guevera, Aree Handley, Jocelynn Jacobs, Chloe Kennedy, Alyssa Larche, Emily Lemus, Reese Macdonald, Macie Medeiros, Aiven Shields, Alexa Silva, Tori Suchomel, Liberty Till, Amy Turner, Hannah Vineyard, Taylor Waggoner, Payton Wilson, and Artica Zaputil. Kelly Waterlyn, coach of the Midgets, said there are a series of things the girls have to perform. She said it involves single stunts where four to five girls in a group hoist a “flyer” up into a pose, and then toss her into the air and catch her. “I’m so proud of them. They worked so hard and really pulled together as a squad,” said Waterlyn of the girls. “It takes a lot of cooperation as everyone has to do their own job. It can be very dangerous if they’re not careful.” Apparently the judges decided the stunts were “dangerous” enough to get high marks, and the girls careful enough that all came through it unscathed. Waterlyn said one of the advantages of the JAMZ competition is the judges give the coaches the information needed to improve their skills. Besides the stunts, Waterlyn said the girls have to do a cheer, dance, and tumbling features to earn points. “It’s what we do when we got to JAMZ,” said Waterlyn. “The judges tell us what we did well, and what we need to work on.” Marina Setzer, coach of the PeeWees, said when entering these competitions it’s difficult to know just how well the girls will do. But she said the experience, and the win, certainly would boost the confidence of the squad going into the league meet. Setzer said they will continue cheering for the football team during the playoffs, and likely won’t do anything different than they did during the regular season. She did say they were planning something with a Halloween theme for this Saturday’s game. “I would love to say just how proud I am (of the girls),” Setzer said, “and how much they’ve accomplished.” Setzer said they would work on some new ideas to use at the league meet in November.