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Cheerleaders take their skills to Pro Bowl in Hawaii

March 12, 2003|by NICOLE RITCHEY

nicoler@herald-mail.com

WILLIAMSPORT - Two cheerleaders from Williamsport High School took their skills to Hawaii in February for the 2003 National Football League Pro Bowl.

Junior Corey Hamby and senior Jessica Leiter, both of whom have been cheering for Williamsport High since they were freshmen, joined about 1,000 other young women in Honolulu for the Feb. 3 football game, they said.

Jessica called the opportunity a "once in a lifetime experience."

Coaches and teammates nominated Corey and Jessica to cheer in the Pro Bowl after the girls performed well at a cheer-leading competition in Williamsburg, Va. The event's judges then gave the girls the go-ahead, they said.

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"I only have one more year left, so I only have one more year that I can go to this," Corey said. "If I get nominated again I definitely want to go."

She, Jessica and their parents spent a week in Hawaii before the big game. It was the cheerleaders' first trip to the Pacific island.

"We visited Pearl Harbor, Diamond Head and went surfing," an experience that made the cheerleaders "feel like part of Hawaii," Jessica said.

"The weather was really nice, not too hot," Corey said. "We went on a full tour of an island, and we also toured a pineapple factory and a macadamia nut factory."

The girls attended a luau and learned the hula, they said.

But the cheerleaders' trip wasn't all about sight-seeing and soaking up the sun. Jessica and Corey spent four to five hours each day practicing for the Pro Bowl, they said. They had one week to learn the routine before they performed it in front of thousands of people.

They were excited at game time, they said.

"At the half-time show, Jennifer Love Hewitt performed and we danced to one of her songs," Corey said.

"It was just an awesome experience, especially because we were given the chance to show off our abilities," said Jessica, who said she also enjoys dancing. "It made me want to perform in front of people ... Its cool to entertain a bunch of people."

Jessica and Corey each paid $5,000 for the trip, they said.

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