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GCHS cheerleaders host Jingle Bell Classic

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By Ryan Naus

Last season, a bid to a national cheerleading competition was on the line when the Grant County cheerleaders hosted the Jingle Bell Classic.

This season, the stakes aren’t as high, but the cheerleaders are still working hard to be at their best.

The girls aren’t competing for a chance to advance to the national competition, but are instead focused on the regional competition Jan. 30. The fourth annual Jingle Bell Classic will be hosted at Grant County High School at 11 a.m. Dec. 12.

“This year, it’s pretty much a way for us to get ready for the region competition,” coach Leigh Simpson said. “This is our chance to preview the full routine, but this is our chance to get out in front of a crowd and show them what their routine looks like. It’s unbelievably important because the more they perform in front of a crowd, the more they can get in that competition mindset, it will make it easier on Jan. 30.”

Simpson hopes that the cheerleaders will learn how to block out all distractions before they perform because that experience will help when it counts.

“The hardest thing is learning how to practice and perform like it matters through anything,” Simpson said. “They need to learn to block everything out and take their one chance, whether it’s for a title or just performing for a crowd, and make the best of it. This is meant to be a reality check for them, so they can know where they are at.”

With over 22 teams performing, this year’s Jingle Bell Classic is the largest in the event’s history.

“It’s getting bigger and bigger every year,” Simpson said. “I would like to see more neighboring schools come because it’s an affordable competition. But we have schools coming as far as East Jessamine and Wayne County. But for us, it’s not about beating anybody else, but being the best we can be. It’s a challenge for us.”

Simpson believes that people should come because it’s a “great show.”

“I’m sure there are lots of little girls who would love to come see what cheerleading is,” she said. “Also, people can come out and see what the big deal is. It’s impressive to watch cheerleaders pack a gym. It’s all for cheerleaders and it’s pretty amazing.”

If you go…

Admission: $5 ($3 for children or seniors, anyone under 4 years old is free)

Where: Grant County High School

When: 11 a.m. Dec. 12