The 25th annual Pennsylvania State Cheerleading Championships will be held Nov. 17 at Kovalchick Convention and Athletic Complex, 711 Pratt Drive, Indiana.
Debbie McQuillen, who has been director of the championship since its inception, said about 125 teams from across the state will compete.
“It’s been great fun, and I get to meet so many people,” she said. “We’re at the point where ones who’ve cheered here are back as a coach. In a couple instances, it’s three generations. Someone has cheered, had a child who cheered and now their grandchildren are cheering.”
The championship goes on for a marathon 12 hours, from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., to accommodate all cheerleaders.
After being held for years at Cambria County War Memorial Arena, the championship was moved to Indiana several years ago.
“This is a brand new facility and has a lot to offer,” McQuillen said. “There’s a Jumbotron that shows the squads’ routines while they’re on the floor and upgraded locker room space.
“The contest is divided by the size of the squads, but at the end we give awards for outstanding single-A, double-A, triple-A and quad-A squads, which goes by the size of the schools,” McQuillen said.
The day will begin with the peewee elementary squads for Grade four and younger and progress to older cheerleaders.
“There will be all-star divisions in the morning, then school divisions in the afternoon,” McQuillen said. “The all-stars represent a gym rather than a school and are full-time cheerleaders. They do more of a show cheer. They’re amazing to watch.”
Other school cheerleading divisions are elementary for sixth grade and younger; junior high for ninth grade and younger; small varsity for 15 or fewer members; medium varsity for 19 or fewer members; large varsity for 23 or fewer members; superlarge varsity for 24 or more members; varsity co-ed for three or more male members; and nontumbling varsity.
Admission is $10 for adults and $5 for students. All tickets will be sold at the door.
Other competitions in the area are Bishop McCort Spiritfest, Oct. 27, Bishop McCort Catholic High School, 25 Osborne St., Johnstown; Laurel Highlands Cheer Classic, Nov. 3, Greater Johnstown High School, 222 Central Ave., Johnstown; Richland Cheer Classic, Nov. 10, Richland High School, One Academic Ave., Richland Township; Pitt-Johnstown’s Cheer and Dance Classic, Nov. 11, UPJ Sports Center, Richland Township; and Universal Cheerleading Association’s Allegheny Regionals, Dec. 9, Slippery Rock University.