KENNETT SQUARE >> It’s rare that a freshman cheerleader wins an honor, but a Kennett High School freshman cheerleader recently was awarded the prestigious All-American Cheerleader award by the Universal Cheerleaders Association.
Morgan D’Amato earned the award at the annual Pine Forest Cheerleading Camp in the Poconos, attended by about 700 girls from high schools on the East Coast. She is now the only All-American on the 13-girl Kennett Cheerleading squad.
“The competition up there is very stiff,” said Cecilia Welch, cheerleading coach at Kennett High School. “She definitely has a natural talent about her.”
Pine Forest Cheerleading Camp is the only camp in the nation that allows freshmen to compete. But even though they compete, it’s extremely rare that a freshman win honors.
“I’m an outgoing person and I found something that fits in for me,” D’Amato said. “It’s a natural talent for me. People don’t’ understand how serious cheerleading can be.”
D’Amito, who lives with grandparents and her four sisters and her brother in Landenberg, said the camp was extremely taxing, from sunrise to sundown. The girls are evaluated on eight routines, and they perform in groups of four.
“It’s terrifying to try out in front of the whole camp,” D’Amato said. “It’s very intimidating. My level of anxiety was through the roof.”
Welch said the camp teaches girls about teamwork and camaraderie.
Attending the cheerleading camp has been a tradition at Kennett High School since 1987. Five hundred cheerleaders from as far as New York, Massachusetts and Ohio come to the Pine Forest cheerleading camp annually for four days of cheering, dancing, stunting, and tumbling.