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Blanton coaches her cheer squad to reach new heights



Gator cheerleaders. Front, kneeling: KeiMya Walton, coach Kala Blanton, Jakayla Brooks. Standing, front from left: KeyAsia Scott, Taniya Coleman, Kyra McCullum, Jakira Gaines, Shamaya Brown and Jashaunty Jefferson. Standing, back from left: Saniyya Brown, Kynnade Washington and Kinsley London.

The Vicksburg Junior High School Gator cheerleaders, led by head coach Kala Blanton, came out to cheer for the basketball teams on Thursday, Oct. 31. Blanton is now in her second year as coach, and she plans to improve the program more each year.

One of Blanton’s main purposes his to have her ladies build strength to be able to complete their stunts properly. The Gators are put through plenty of team-building exercises to keep the ladies working well together, and they practice three times a week during football season and twice a week during basketball season.

They also compete in cheer tournaments. This summer, Blanton took her squad to camp at Mississippi State University where they took first place in dance, cheer and sideline, and they also won the overall competition.

The leaders of the squad is Captain KeiMya Walton, and its co-captains are Jakayla Brooks and Precious Drayton.

“My daughter is always eager to learn and to help lead her squad,” said Maurice Brooks, father of Jakayla Brooks.

Coach Blanton makes sure her ladies stay on task in the classroom, too, by keeping up their behavior and grades.

The team is made up of 11 girls. Seven attend the Academy of Innovation, and the other four attend Vicksburg Junior High School where Blanton is the assistant English language arts teacher.

“The captains came a long way since seventh grade,” Blanton said. “My goal is to give more girls the opportunity to cheer just like I had the chance.”

Blanton gives a lot of credit to her former cheer coach Jennifer Grey, who coached her when she cheered at Vicksburg High School in 2013.

Everything I know comes from coach Grey, along with my mentor Lesly Magee who taught me everything on the coaching side,” Blanton said.

She is committed to her young squad. Blanton knows that by putting in hard work and practice, they can reach for goals they may think are unattainable.

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