Making Your Mark: Cheering state champs who help cheer up sick kids

Making Your Mark: Saluting student champions on and off the field

CHESAPEAKE, VA (WVEC) -- They are some uplifting, competitive cheerleaders. The Grassfield Grizzlies cheer team are back-to-back state champions.

But, it's the spirit they display in the community that has so many people standing and cheering for them.

"I try to instill hard work," said Coach Dusty Herrell. "I try to instill character, having goals and setting them."

They definitely work hard... and it's paid off. When you look inside the gym you'll see several regional and district championship banners hanging on the walls, or in the trophy display cases when you walk into the school.

Several trophies show these girls and boys are shining examples of teamwork and dedication. 

"It takes a lot of teamwork, because you have to trust the teammates under you," said Randi Polandro, a student on the squad who gets lifted up during routines. "My teammates are my family."

They're a tight-knit group that also thinks about being winners in other areas of life.

That's the character Coach Herrell was talking about earlier. It's one reason why she's choreographed a winning program that now includes acts of kindness like Blankets for Babies at CHKD. The cheerleaders make blankets for sick babies at CHKD.

The program also includes an annual  "Flip-A-thon," where their athleticism on the mat raises funds for CHKD and The Ronald McDonald House. So far over the years, the Flip-A-thons have raised over $35,000.

"I just want them to learn that hard work really pays off," Coach Herrell said. "If you want something, set the steps to do it, work hard and you'll achieve it."

And they've achieved so much with an emphasis on championships and character.

"They help me be what I am not just as an athlete, but as a person," Randi said.


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