For Magnum Force All Stars cheerleaders


July 09, 2007|By DAN DEARTH

HAGERSTOWN - Brittany Kesteven said Magnum Force All Stars Inc., a cheer and dance school that she attends in Hagerstown, helps its students prepare for their high school cheerleading squads.

Besides learning more difficult routines and how to tumble, Kesteven, a 16-year-old Smithsburg resident, said Magnum Force offers its members something that local high schools do not - a chance to compete nationally.

"It's way more advanced," she said.

Vivian Vega, Magnum Force's executive director, said she plans to officially open the school in Hagers-town on Aug. 15 at 39B N. Mulberry St., for boys and girls in the Tri-State area.

Magnum Force is in the process of moving from Williamsport, after the building there became too small for a rapidly growing enrollment, she said.


The instructors at Magnum Force are racing to prepare the 4,000-square-foot facility for the grand opening in Hagerstown.

Vega said they have to redo the entire space because it was a "massive mess" when Magnum Force took over.

She thanked local contractors who donated their work to bring the electrical wiring, among other things, up to code.

Vega said the school has about 50 students, but she anticipates another 30 will join this year.

For $65 a month, she said students from ages 3 to 18 will get four hours of cheering and one hour of tumbling practice per week. Classes are offered seven days a week.

In April, Magnum Force topped about 200 other squads to win the National Championships at Reach the Beach Nationals in Ocean City, Md., Vega said. In addition, three of Magnum Force's five squads were invited to compete at the world championships in Baltimore.

"These kids have worked very hard to get where they are," she said.

Vega said she wants her students to learn more than cheering.

As part of the program, the girls are required to participate in at least two benefits each year. Last year, they donated their time to help in the fight against multiple sclerosis and cystic fibrosis, she said.

"I would like them to give back to the community they're a part of," Vega said.

Magnum Force is fully insured, and emergency personnel or nurses are on the scene when the girls are competing and practicing, she said. Each of her 10 coaches is required to attend safety conferences.

During a Sunday practice, Rheyanah Clayton, 11, said she wasn't scared when her teammates hoisted her to the top of a pyramid.

"It's fun ... You have to get used to it," she said. "You feel like your going to hit the ground, but you have to trust your friends."

Rheyanah said she has been cheering for about two years and wants to use what she learns at Magnum Force to earn spots on cheerleading squads in high school and college.

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