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Cheering isn’t what it used to be.

Jeff Bear Mug CMYKOnce upon a time, the primary roles of high school cheerleaders and poms were to support the school’s sports teams while rallying the student body.

And while those traditions are still a large part of every high school sideline, cheering has become so much more than that for squads today.

Cheering, poms and stunting are legitimate, competitive sports practiced by girls — and boys — who are finely tuned athletes focused on perfecting their craft.

My daughter was on the poms team all four years in high school, and served as team captain during her senior year. Her team finished in the top five statewide, and they competed in the national tournament every year.

I witnessed firsthand how hard those girls worked to achieve their goals.

A typical practice for them started every day with a mile run that had to be completed under eight minutes, before the team began a 30-minute pilates session to strengthen their core, followed by a session consisting of several yoga stretches.

After that, practice got serious.

For the full story, please see the Wednesday, Aug. 14 issue of the Sedona Red Rock News.

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