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Sat, July 04

GCHS girls win trophy,<br>ribbons at California camp<br>

The Grand Canyon High School cheer squad spent part of the summer enthusiastically jumping and yelling as proud representatives of the Phantoms.

The Grand Canyon High School cheer squad won a trophy for ‘Most Improved Squad at Camp’ at Disneyland this summer. Pictured from left, front row: Sonya Garza, Jenna Diaz-Gonzalez, Janna Barth; back row, Ashleigh Niblett, Julie Haughton, Sarah Monfort and Lauren Torres. Not pictured: Kyisha Cann. (Photo courtesy of Margaret Gearman)

But the girls weren’t on the sidelines for an athletic contest. The cheer squad was busy participating in camps at Anaheim, Calif., and Flagstaff. And part of the reason for jumping and yelling was for the honors they earned.

The cheer squad’s first trip was to Disneyland in Anaheim and by the end of the camp, had garnered several ribbons and a nice trophy.

"At Disneyland, our cheerleaders learned what it was like to be a performing cast member and had the privilege of learning other techniques from a 10-time nationally-recognized cheerleader of the year," said Margaret Gearman, GCHS cheer adviser.

Cheer squad members include Janna Barth, Kyisha Cann, Jenna Diaz-Gonzalez, Sonya Garza, Julie Haughton, Sarah Monfort, Ashleigh Niblett and Lauren Torres.

At the camp, Gearman said the team worked 12 hours a day for 3 1/2 days to learn cheers, stunts and dances. Through their participation, they earned eight "superior" ribbons and one "excellent" ribbon for their evaluations in those three areas.

The big award, however, was for being named the "Most Improved Squad at Camp."

"Since there were over 500 cheerleaders in attendance, the Grand Canyon team proved themselves to be athletes and have earned their mark on Grand Canyon sports," Gearman said. "My team is looking forward to this coming season and rallying support for our Phantoms."

The cheer program has been a source of pride for the school over the past several months through their accomplishments.

"I am extremely proud of their commitment and dedication and am honored to have been chosen by them to be their coach," Gearman said.

The cheer squad worked to earn money to attend the camp at Disneyland, as well as a camp at Northern Arizona University. Gearman said the community also came through for them.

"We wanted to extend our sincerest gratitude to Bill Johnston of Xanterra for donating a van, the Lions Club and Brenda Halverson of Papillon for monetary donations," Gearman said.

Gearman also said the cheer squad wanted to recognize We Cook Pizza and Pasta, the American Legion John Ivens Post No. 42, Greg Walker of Delaware North Parks Services and the Grand Canyon Community Recreation Center for "providing us with the avenues from which to earn money."

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