Howard County schools cheer for competition

FORGET THE stereotype of a cheerleader as a bubble-headed blonde whose greatest asset is her perky personality. Spectators at the Howard County Cheerleading Championships, held at Oakland Mills High School on Saturday, learned firsthand that these girls - and guys - are accomplished athletes.

"Most people don't think of cheerleading as a sport," said Daneace Jeffery, varsity cheer sponsor at Howard High School, who organized the competition. "Cheerleading got a bad name years ago as only being for the most popular girls, the football players' girlfriends. We've evolved from that."


For the contest, which was sponsored by the Maryland Marlins All-Star Cheerleaders, judges were looking at how each team executed its routine, the performers' tumbling skills, overall performance and athletic ability.

The judges were Nikki Greig, Edy Pratt, Jill Thomas and Rene Buckmon.


"The strength that is required to perform some of the stunts is phenomenal," said Pratt, a cheer coach in Montgomery County and former employee of the National Cheerleading Association. "Football players just have to catch a football. Our cheerleaders are catching bodies."

Varsity and junior varsity high school cheerleading squads from Wilde Lake, Oakland Mills, Glenelg, Centennial and Howard High schools participated in the team competitions. Oakland Mills High School took first place in the varsity and junior varsity team categories. Wilde Lake High School placed second in both categories.

After the competition, Wilde Lake High junior varsity cheerleader Katie Penyak was proud of her team. "I feel great because we went out there and did our best," she said. "We held our stunts and hit most of them."

Oakland Mills High cheerleader Kenney Gillus, one of two male competitors in the contest, took the award for best individual varsity cheerleader in the county. Jessica Palmire of Howard High took second, and Kristin Moody of Hammond High placed third in the varsity individual competition.

In the junior varsity individual competition, Monique Manning of Oakland Mills High took the first-place trophy. Another Oakland Mills student, Molly Pieplow, placed second. Megan Silas of Glenelg High was third.

In the partner stunt category, teams of five varsity cheerleaders performed a series of stunts, choreographed to music, which included throwing teammates several feet into the air. Wilde Lake High won the partner stunt competition. Hammond High took home the trophy for second place.

Howard High was presented the Spirit Award, given to the team that demonstrates the most school spirit.

Salute to Broadway


On Saturday and Sunday, more than 120 members of the Clemens Crossing Elementary School community presented "The Follies," a variety show salute to Broadway.

"I was amazed by the incredible display of talent from the students, parents and teachers," said Carol Bode, mother of Clemens Crossing third-grader Emily Bode.

The show was produced by Clemens Crossing Assistant Principal Tony Yount. Parent Stephanie Gurwitz directed, and parent Miriam Kook accompanied most of the acts on piano.

Bode said Yount and teacher Alice Zehrbach brought the house down with their performance of "I Remember It Well" from the musical "Gigi." Another show-stopper was first-grader Dymond Dantzler, who sang "Ease on Down the Road" from "The Wiz."

Art auction

The Atholton High School Music Boosters are sponsoring Art Auction 2001 on Saturday at Kahler Hall in Harper's Choice Village Center.


The event will begin at 6:30 p.m. with a preview of the art to be auctioned. Hors d'oeuvres, beverages and desserts will be available, and music will be provided. The auction will begin at 7:30 p.m.

Proceeds will be used to support music programs at Atholton High School.

Tickets, which cost $5: 410-531-5782.