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Published on December 10th, 2013 | by Jessica Baker

All Access with Hailey: ‘Tis the Season

‘Tis the season for holidays and competitions! I hope y’all had a wonderful Thanksgiving! I have so much to be thankful for this year including my family, friends, Stingrays, school and so much more!

Things have been busy as always at the gym and at school. The Stingrays took the mat for the first time this season at the Encore Championships in Atlanta on November 23rd and had an awesome first showing! Stingrays Marietta had twenty first place finishes, two second place finishes and two fourth place finishes! My team, Orange, had a great start to our season. While we still have tons of room for improvement, we are very pleased with our first performance in the Large Senior All Girl 5 division. We are already working hard to make improvements and a few changes to our routine for the next set of competitions. Overall, it was a great day to be a Ray!

November was also the close to the high school competition season in Georgia. Schools across the state attended their Regional and Sectional competitions, and the top teams battled it out on the mat at the GHSA State Cheerleading Finals on November 15th and 16th. I am very happy to report that my high school, Mount Paran Christian School, brought home our second (back-to-back) state title in the Single A Private division! Two of my Orange teammates, Peyton Rusk and Emily Johnson, cheer with me on our school team, and the three of us were so proud of our squad. Two additional Orange teammates also became State Champs! Haley Hartle won her second title with Lambert HS in 6A, and Catie Callen’s team, McIntosh HS, brought home the trophy in 5A! There were so many Stingrays competing at State—it was really fun to cheer them all on with their respective schools! There is no doubt that all star cheerleading has a great influence on high school cheer in Georgia.

With school cheer ending and all star season in full swing, there is a lot going on at Stingrays. Half-year teams have now started and Stingrays Marietta has formed an additional 15 teams! This is always an exciting time of year because we get to see so many new faces at Rays, and many of the half-year teams are assisted by Rays athletes.

Holiday giving is cranking up around the gym too! My blanket drive is still in high gear, and I’m looking forward to delivering all of the blanket donations to the Calvary Children’s Home and MUST Ministries later on this month. I’m also busy making and selling canvas art and custom decorator initials to continue my fundraising for the House of Hope in Haiti. I’m thrilled that Stingrays has once again started their annual Toy Drive for the holidays! There is no better feeling than giving back and helping others, especially during this time of year!

For Orange, December will consist of preparing for the Cheersport Atlanta Grand Championship on December 8th, followed by the World Spirit Federation Triple Crown Showdown in Louisville, KY on December 14th and 15th. In Louisville we’ll be making our first attempt at getting our paid bid to the USASF Cheerleading Worlds in April 2014. We are all very excited and working hard to nail two perfect routines and win that bid! The remainder of December will be spent perfecting our routine, adding more difficulty for the January competitions, and enjoying a little time off to celebrate the holidays with our family and friends. Orange will celebrate with a year-end holiday party where we all get dressed up and enjoy each other outside of the gym with a nice meal and gift exchange. Then we’ll be back to work harder than ever as we bring in 2014!

I want to wish each and every one of my AC readers the happiest of holiday seasons! Until 2014, Cheers!

-Hailey Bednar

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