Hands clap out the rhythm as steady arms and wobbly knees strike poses. Bright uniforms tumble across the mat as cheerleaders from elementary school to college competed in the Green Mountain Invitational hosted by Castleton State College on Saturday.Many high schools competed with Poultney winning the overall competition and Rutland taking the large varsity division. Out of the two proposed colleges at the competition Castleton was the only college performing, due to an injury on their opposing team.
The overflowing bleachers and gym floor were filled with fans screaming at times louder than those cheering on the blue mats.
“It’s nothing like I expected with all the high energy,” said Benn Laberge, who was watching some of his friends compete and expected only five teams. “I should’ve known better.”
Like the music, changing from the typical Britney Spears to the Pussycat Dolls to Queen, the routines varied from no jumps and tumbles (the elementary team) to pyramids and flips in the air.
The Castleton Cheer coach Heath Haskell, who also coaches Rutland’s varsity cheerleading team, set up the invitational as a way to entice cheerleaders to enroll in Castleton and join the team.
It just may have worked, too.
“The crowd was all riled up, which motivates us to do a better job,” said Castleton cheerleader Trista Gregory.