JACKSON (WLBT) - In a sport most often recognized for its outer appeal, Central Mississippi Cheerleading is also developing the inner qualities of all of its young students.
"It's healthy for them. It's great for building self esteem, for team building exercises, and group work, and most of the kids who come out of the program come out stronger and better," said Central Mississippi Cheerleading (CMC) Owner and Coach David Hanbery.
Much of that self-strengthening from time spent on teamwork.
"We all know that if each of us do our best, then we'll do the best that we can, and we focus on doing good for our team, and not just for ourselves," said 17-year old Meagan McNeil.
"We practice together for about 2-to-3 hours every single day," added 18-year old Morgan Davis. "So, you really create close bonds with your other teammates, and we all become sort-of a family."
This weekend (April 17 & 18), CMC's senior group will compete in Atlanta for an international cheer championship. Yet, 1st place title or not, ultimately, success is gained through competition.
"The best part is just getting out on the floor and competing what we've been practicing and working so hard on throughout the whole year," Davis said.
"We hope to go out there and dominate," McNeil said. "We know we deserve this national title, and we just hope that if we pull together and do our best on the floor, that we deserve it."
"If we get the trophy, which hopefully we do, than that's great," commented Hanbery. "But if not, our kids know that they can stand in that same competitive environment with everybody else, and stand toe-to-toe."