Cheers! — Carin Lodell headed to Atlanta for Cheersport Nationals

Carin Lodell is heading to a national cheer competition this week. - Photo courtesy of the Lodell Family
Carin Lodell is heading to a national cheer competition this week.
— image credit: Photo courtesy of the Lodell Family

For three years now, local sports fans have been seeing junior Carin Lodell cheering her heart out at Falcon football and basketball games.

Thing is, it’s not her only gig.

Three or four times a week, after school and following practice with her cheerleader teammates, she drives to Redmond to train in complicated routines with Galaxy Cheer, a group of 25 girls and five boys who compete on the national level.

Tomorrow, she leaves for Atlanta, Ga. to join 18,0000 cheerleaders (give or take) for the Cheersport Nationals competition.

“It’s huge, the Super Bowl of cheerleading, the big show,” Lodell said. “There are over 900 teams from around the country and the top finalists are featured next month on ESPN.”

Lodell’s Galaxy Co-Ed Elite squad is nationally ranked and won two championships last year in Hawaii and California.

Lodell loves being a cheerleader, something she has done since the sixth grade in Oak Harbor with a local youth team. This is her third year with Galaxy.

“For me, this is my main sport; I don’t play basketball or tennis. I plan to do it in college as well,” she said.

The worst part of the experience is the long drive. Sometimes she doesn’t get home until 10 or 11 p.m. “Homework is always an issue,” Lodell noted. “I do it on the ferry or get up early.”

But there are rewards.

“The best part is getting the recognition when we perform well, being interviewed and meeting terrific young people from all over the country.”

Her mother, Monica Lodell, notes another advantage.

“Cheerleaders from this competition can be offered major college scholarships, plus this is where the ‘cheer scouts’ hang out,” she said.

The ability to impress crowds both on and off the floor with their talent and determination doesn’t come easy — it takes hours of hard, physical work where a moment’s hesitation with a teammate in the air can spell disaster.

Lodell is up to the challenge.

“Being part of a team, boys and girls that are the best at what they do, is very special for me,” she said.

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