Sherling tumbles into Top 16

Bronlyn Holland, Editor in Chief

Whether it is pulling five fulls across the floor or flying through the air, Alyssa Sherling, senior, is seen on and off the blue mat showing her leadership skills and what it is like to be a true teammate. To many, it is not a shock to discover Sherling was named as Top 16 in Georgia’s Cheerleader of the Year.

“The sky is the limit for her… what makes me more proud of her… is having those skills as a freshman and being able to maintain those skills and show leadership to her team, whether it’s in football cheerleading or if it’s in competition cheerleading, she leads by example… when she steps on the mat or the track, cheerleading is the only thing she focuses on…she does a really good job not being distracted,” Chelsea McCreary, football cheer head coach, said.

Sherling began her high school career on the Varsity competition team and has improved.

“It’s definitely been a good experience. I’ve had three coaches: Steph, Schmuhl and Chelsea. It’s definitely not only helped me succeed on the mat but academically and in life as well outside of cheer. I couldn’t have asked for a better four years anywhere. Freshman year, we had a rough year. It definitely taught us that we needed to work harder…but we came back from that year and my sophomore year we had a chance at winning state…and I just made the All-State Team and Top 16… I’ve made All-Region every year… Definitely very thankful for how blessed I am… This year is amazing… We all love each other and it’s a family,” Sherling said.

 Sherling started cheering when she was four years old for All-Star Cheer; however, when her brother and sister cheered on the 2012 Varsity competition cheer team, Sherling decided to tryout for the school.

Wow she’s a hard coach. I want a coach like this”

— Alyssa Sherling

“When I was in sixth grade, my brother and sister were on the team that won state, and I often came to the practices and that’s when I originally met Schmuhl. And I remember sitting at practices like, ‘Wow she’s a hard coach. I want a coach like this’ I want a coach that cares enough about me to throw a shoe at me because she would often times do that, and when I saw the excitement they had and the excitement I had when they won state, I wanted to feel that,” Sherling said.

Throughout her years, Stacey Schmuhl, competition cheer head coach, saw Sherling’s potential whenever the young cheerleader walked in the room.

“She’s always had a lot of skill as a cheerleader. I think her biggest growth has been in how to be a leader and how to help her teammates and how to bring the team together,” Schmuhl said.

On Aug. 4, Sherling competed for Georgia’s Cheerleader of the Year.

“She does an application process and on that it has to have everything from her cheerleading accolades to other things she’s involved in here at school, things she’s involved in outside of school, whether that be work, community service, other cheerleading teams, and then from that they pick a group that gets to try out and that’s what she did in the summer and that’s when she made the All-State Team. At the summer try out, she does a mini routine where she can stunt, tumble and jump and then she goes to an interview with a panel of interviewees and from there, they choose their top 16 based on that score…that’s [application, interview and routine] all averaged together to get the top score of who will be number one, ” McCreary said.

Nia Grayson, freshman; Alyssa Hale, junior; Nikki Davis, junior; Katie Dillingham, senior; and Dazia Goulden, senior, competed with her. Sherling hand-picked them to be part of her stunt group because of their support in cheer and her personal life. While Sherling was named Top 16 finalist, Sherling was also named to the Georgia All-State Team.

Sherling overcame an obstacle to perform her best routine.

“This summer when she tried out… she did drive to Columbus and was in car accident and a pretty bad car accident, bad enough to total her mom’s car, and she ended up turning around you know less than 12 hours later and competed…That right there proves her passion for the sport and the passion to be great. She lets nothing get in the way,” McCreary said.

Sherling left it all on the mat at the competition.

“It was an amazing experience. I was so nervous turning in my application… I remember I was at the beach on our two week break and I remember Schmuhl calling me and I was so confused…and she was like, ‘Guess what?’ and I was like, ‘What?’ and she said, ‘You made Top 40 for GHSA Cheerleader of the Year!’…I was so excited that I literally crying on the phone and getting to go down there and having her with me, it was an awesome experience that I’m so thankful for because…not only did I get chosen as the Top 40, I got chosen for Top 16,” Sherling said.

Schmuhl believes Sherling deserves this award for who she is.

“She does a lot of stuff outside of school and cheerleading. Whereas, a lot of athletes, it’s either school is their life or cheerleading is their life. She does a lot of volunteer work. She also holds a job. She’s very well-rounded,” Schmuhl said.

Sherling will find out if she is Cheerleader of the Year at the GHSA State Cheerleading competition on Nov. 10 at Columbus Civic Center, which will be Sherling’s last state competition. As a senior, Sherling faces many emotions as she heads to Columbus.

I’m excited to take the mat for the last time… all the feelings that come with it, I’m definitely going to miss”

— Alyssa Sherling

“It’s definitely sad. I’ve cried a few times. I remember my friend, Alyssa, asking me if I was going to cry when I came off the mat and I told her I was going to cry going on the mat and she asked me ‘Why?’ and I was like ‘Because I know it’s my last time to ever experience that amazing feeling of high school cheerleading. Not only my last time at state but my last time to ever compete with the GHSA competition. It’s definitely going to be sad but it’s going to be great. I’m excited to take the mat for the last time… all the feelings that come with it, I’m definitely going to miss,”Sherling said.

Although this is Sherling’s last time on the mat with her team, Sherling plans to continue to compete at the collegiate level.

“I want to do Game-Day for college… right now, my first choice is Kentucky… because they have a really good cheer team and number one in not only the state but for the country… I’m also looking at UGA and Baylor… if I cheer at UGA, I will compete at All-Star still,” Sherling said.

You can do anything you set your mind to”

— Stacey Schmuhl

Even though this year ends Sherling’s high school cheerleading career, Sherling’s legacy will be left behind.

“Just fighting through aches and pains… she does a really good job of fighting through that and being mentally strong, and so I think she sets a really good example for those who come after her… You can do anything you set your mind to,” Schmuhl said.