St. Joe cheerleaders earn ninth at state

For the first time since 2013, Port St. Joe sent a competitive cheer squad to the FHSAA State Finals, with their routine earning ninth place in the Class 1A Small School category last Wednesday, Feb. 2. 

Coached by Stephanie Petersen and Lindsay Summerlin, the young Tiger Sharks secured a trip to the finals in Gainesville by finishing second at the regional competition held at West Nassau High School on Jan. 21. 

“This is the first time ever for (the school) to compete in the tumbling division,” said Summerlin. “We couldn’t be more proud.” 

The 13 girls on the squad are junior Taylor Campbell; freshmengraders Hailyn Levins, Kiyleh Parker, Sunny Shearer, Leila Smith, Lia Taylor, and Lilli Williams; eighth graders Ava Davis, Hannah Petersen, Reagan Thomas, and Ruby Williams; and seventh graders MaKayla Hopper and Javana Pearson. 

With the team having no seniors, Summerlin noted that it was “time to put the work in to build off the (success of) this season.”

Meet the Editor

Wendy Weitzel, The Star’s digital editor, joined the news outlet in August 2021, as a reporter covering primarily Gulf County.

Prior to then, she interned for Oklahoma-based news wire service Gaylord News and for Oklahoma City-based online newspaper NonDoc.com during her four years at the University of Oklahoma, from which she graduated in May with degrees in online journalism and political science.

While at OU, Weitzel was selected as Carnegie-Knight News21 Investigative Fellow among 30 top journalism students from around the country. She also was senior editor managing a 12-person newsroom in coordination with Oklahoma Watch, a non-profit news organization in eastern Oklahoma.

Wendy Weitzel The Star Digital Editor

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