Athlete of the Month: Avalos jumps into her first year of cheer

After years of gymnastics, junior Gabriella Avalos shifts her focus to cheerleading.

Alysa Basmadzhyan

Every month, we recognize two student athletes, one from a boys team and another from a girls team, for their performance on the field. This month, we recognized Gabriella Avalos.

Avalos began cheerleading this year and she cheers for games at Birmingham Community Charter High School.  

Q: Is this your first time doing cheerleading? If so, why did you choose to join?

A: Prior to this, I was a gymnast. I wanted to stay in the habit of tumbling, so I thought it was a good opportunity.

Q: What events are you competing in this year?

A: For cheering at games, we cheer for the Birmingham football team and later in the year, the Birmingham basketball team.

Q: What was the most exciting moment in cheerleading so far? Why?

A: Probably making the competition team because we get to go to nationals in February, which is in Florida. We are going to the Walt Disney World Resort and that is a Universal Cheerleaders Association (UCA) High School Cheer Competition. 

Q: How has cheerleading impacted your school life and daily life?

A: School-wise, it hasn’t really affected it that much. I still have good grades so it hasn’t impacted me negatively. I made new friends as well.

Q: What is your favorite part about cheerleading?

A: I like the team aspect of cheerleading because as a former gymnast, it was more of an individual sport. In high school cheerleading, I get the opportunity to cheer and collaborate with my teammates at games. At competitions, we all have to work together to win and show our best. For example when stunting, not only are you doing something but so are your other teammates to help the stunt stay up. Overall, it’s a team effort. 

Q: What was the most challenging moment in cheerleading so far?

 A: Learning how to stunt because I have never done it before.

Q: What is your position on the team?

A: I am a tumbler for the competition team. I also base and back spot for the stunt team. A tumbler is someone that does flipping skills and then a back spot is a position within a stunt group. There is a side base, main base, back spot and flyer. I am a back spot and base, which helps hold the flyer’s feet, and a back spot controls the stunt and uses muscle to lift the weight off of the flyer off of the base to make it easier for them to hold her up. A back spot holds their ankles and makes sure the flyer doesn’t hit the ground.