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2013 NATIONAL CHAMPS: County’s special needs squad competes in Myrtle Beach

March 21, 2013

Whitley County Dazzlers won the national title in Myrtle Beach, S.C. last weekend. Front row, from left: Alexis Kyles, Samantha Pfeiffer, Mary Hyndman, Brooke Silk, Ava Rowe and Sydney Pequignot. Back row, from left: Elaine Horn, Vanessa Bills, Kaycee Bills, Jyl Riemesma, Payton Jagger, Alisha Kimmel, Loryn Usher, Sarah Horn and Brenna Halferty. Photo contributed

COLUMBIA CITY — Bringing home a national award is cause for celebration for any team, squad or group.

But for Vanessa Bills and the Whitley County Dazzlers, winning a cheerleading national title is somewhat shocking.

“I didn’t even realize we would be competing like that,” said Bills who is the Dazzler’s coach.

The special needs cheerleading squad is open to any age and gender in Whitley County who has a disability.

Last week, the squad took its first cross-country trip to Myrtle Beach, S.C. to compete in Cheer Ltd.’s national competition.

“I was worried at first when we got down there and found out we would be competing. Up until now, we’ve only performed in exhibition,” Bills said. “But as the event coordinators put it, these girls like to get awards too. They work hard and practice hard. Why shouldn’t they get a chance to earn a trophy?”

Not only did the squad earn a trophy, but each individual cheerleader took home three medals.

“I think some of the girls are still wearing their medals,” said Bills. “It meant so much to them. The whole time we were there, they were catered to. They felt like stars.”

To read the rest of this story, see the March 21 issue of The Post and Mail. Don't have a subscription? Call (260) 244-5153 or subscribe to our e-edition. For breaking news, sports updates and additional coverage, bookmark the homepage and find us on facebook and twitter.

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