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Tumbling Tatiana: Cedar Creek cheerleader dazzles crowd with back handspring routine

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By DAVE O’SULLIVAN Publisher Marie Klein, a cheerleader at Walsh Jesuit High School in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio, said on a YouTube video that she was dizzy after completing 42 back handsprings at a football game in early September. Cedar Creek High School sophomore Tatiana Brown certainly knows how she feels. Klein set a Guinness Book record with her 42 back handsprings. When the Cedar Creek Pirates played Ocean City in September, Brown completed 22, a personal record for her. Brown’s tumbling skills certainly get her cheerleading teammates and Pirates fans fired up at football games, as the whole crowd counts along as she tumbles down the track. “I guess it comes naturally. It’s something that’s always fun to do,” said Brown, 15. “Maybe by my senior year (I can get 42). It’s the crowd that gets me going. When they start cheering I just go. When I get done I’m super dizzy.” Tatiana Brown, a sophomore cheerleader at Cedar Creek High School, dazzles the crowd at football games with her tumbling back handspring routine. (Glory Days Photo/Dave O'Sullivan) Tatiana Brown, a sophomore cheerleader at Cedar Creek High School, dazzles the crowd at football games with her tumbling back handspring routine. (Glory Days Photo/Dave O’Sullivan) Cedar Creek cheerleading coach Toni-Anne Idzinski believes that Brown may have a shot at challenging the record by the time she gets to be a senior. “I think if we keep working on it she can easily make it to around 30,” Idzinski said. Brown said the first 10 tumbles are relatively easy, but she starts feeling the effects as the count gets higher. “Around 15. The track is really rocky and my hands turn red and feel like they are going to bleed. It doesn’t hurt my legs at all because my legs are strong, it’s more my hands,” Brown said. “I just keep going until I feel super dizzy. I literally can’t see, the world is spinning.” Cheerleaders have always had to fight for respect, as many high school football fans view them simply as pretty girls holding pom-poms and doing a few cheers every now and then. But Idzinski knows better than most just how difficult some of the acrobatics cheerleaders perform really are. Idzinski, a former gymnast at Toms River East High School, said doing more than just a few back handsprings takes a lot of practice and tumbling or gymnastics experience. “Cheerleading is definitely a sport and requires a lot of training and a background. Many of these girls cheer on competitive teams and take tumbling classes in addition to the high school version that everyone sees. A lot of high schools have competitive cheer teams,” Idzinski said. “It’s very difficult. You definitely need an athletic trainer to teach you the form that you need. You need to know that you have to squat at a certain angle, you need to be able to propel yourself backward, keep your arms and elbows locked so that they don’t bend and you don’t fall, and you need to whip your body around to be able to maintain that.” Teammate Lia Bruno, a senior, is impressed. “I think my record last year was 13,” Bruno said. “I did 13 and I was falling over. I don’t know how I’d feel after 22. That’s rough.” Idzinski and senior Devyn Brown both said the crowd is a huge factor in Tatiana’s tumbling success. “This is extraordinary. It’s definitely a lot of hard work and dedication on Tatiana’s part and the fact that she pushes through even though she gets dizzy,” Idzinski said. “I think the crowd really helps motivate her. They are counting so loud with every back handspring she does.” “We really enjoy watching her do it, and it’s good to see her progress to get more,” Devyn said. “The fans get really excited about it and love to count along with how many she does. It’s really fun.” “When a lot of people watch her they are like, ‘oh, my God, she’s doing so many!'” Bruno said. “What people don’t know is that she’s a much higher skilled tumbler. She knows how to flip without using her hands, she can do standing tucks, running tucks. She can do what we call a layout. She’s such a good cheerleader.” Marie Klein, watch out. You just might have a viable challenger to your record. Contact Dave O’Sullivan: sully@acglorydays.com; on Twitter @GDsullysays.

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