Greenup County Has A lot to Cheer About
The Ashland Beacon
There are two types of athletes… those who simply wish for success and never really put in the required effort to make those wishes a reality and then those who go above and beyond wishing and work their butts off to achieve not only personal success but success for their team as well! Greenup County, Kentucky is no stranger to the world of competitive cheer. In fact, I would go as far as to say that thanks to the success of two of Greenup’s cheer organizations that Greenup County, Kentucky is the place to be if your lifelong dream is to put on that coveted white satin jacket. On Feb 12, 2023, both the youth and senior cheerleading squads of Pride Athletics and the infamous Greenup County High School Cheerleaders ALL came home with those white satin jackets that so many dreams are made of.
Pride Athletics isn’t just in the business of creating world-class cheer leaders. They are in the business instilling some of life’s most important core values. Their name literally encompasses all that Pride Athletics stands for… “P- Pride, R-Respect, I- Integrity, D- Dignity, E- Excellence.” Pride Athletics is located at 18534 US-23 in Greenup, Kentucky and is home to some of the Tri-State’s most talented coaching staff and cheerleaders. Kristin Martin, owner, operator, and a coach at Pride Athletics, couldn’t be more proud of these girls’ accomplishments and credits the success of both squads to the girls hard work and sacrifice. “These kids sacrifice all weekend, every weekend basically from July to February plus days in the middle of the week. They are fully committed to their team and to this sport. Their parents are the same, they work tirelessly to fundraise, get the girls from point A to point B, and it takes a lot of time, money, and energy to have a child in a program of this magnitude. We’re a family, and truly I think that is the key to having success on anything--loving and supporting each other on the good and bad days and be willing to do whatever it takes to make things happen for those we love.”
Pride Athletics consist of two teams the Senior Club and the Youth Club. Martin explained, “Pride Senior Club is for ages 14 and under. This year we had 21 athletes. Pride Youth Club is for ages 10 and under and was made up of 18 ath-letes.” Both teams consist of talented athletes from all around our local area of Kentucky and Ohio. This year both the Pride Youth and the Pride Senior clubs killed it at Nationals. “Pride Senior Club won 14U Rec Division for a National Championship and also won the World Championship. There were 11 teams against them from PA, FL, TN, LA, IN, etc. Our Youth Club won their division for a National championship in the 10U Division against 10 other teams from same areas. Combined since 2017, our program has won 8 UCA National Championships and 3 World Championships. We’ve also won multiple Regional Championships and a QUEST National title.” declared Martin. There is no doubt about it… the staff, parents, and athletes certainly have a lot to take pride in.
Pride Athletics aren’t the only ones who brought back white satin to their hometown of Greenup, Kentucky. The cheerleaders of Greenup County High School are a cheer force to be reckoned with. This year the girls placed second in Nationals and were less than a point away from first place. However, the cheerleaders of GCHS brought home the win for Worlds this year making it the second consecutive year to bring home the Worlds title. Led by the infamous coaching style of Candy Berry, Greenup County Cheer is no stranger to success. Greenup now currently holds 16 National Titles, three KHSAA State Championship titles, five Kentucky Association of Pep Championship titles, and now a total of two Worlds titles.
Hunter Scott, one of Greenup County Cheers coaches and a former World Champion himself, commented on the team’s success, “We have 24 on our squad who traveled with us, and we competed in the medium division with 19. As a coach, it is an overwhelming feeling seeing your kids succeed. They work hard all year for this one moment and seeing them hit their routine and knowing they did the best they could do makes it all worth it! They were truly amazing.” Scott went on to add, “The biggest contributing factor into our success this year in my opinion would be that this group all loved each other. They are a great group of girls. Anytime you get a large group of girls together, there can always be some drama, but we had absolutely no drama this year. They all got along great, which made them super easy to coach and resulted in our success this year!”
One young lady contributed to the success of not only Greenup County Cheer but also the success of Pride Athletics. Shea Rice, a freshman at Greenup County High School, not only competed as an athlete but also went to Nationals as a coach! Rice brought home a Worlds School win with her team at Greenup County High School as an athlete and also brought home a Nationals win for her role in coaching Pride Athletics Youth squad alongside coach Stephanie Griffith. “Watching those girls put on those white satin jackets was incredible. It just made me start crying happy tears because I knew how hard they had worked all year long, and I knew that they deserved to wear the white satin. Then they finally went, and got them! I think it was more exciting for me watching the girls put those white satin jackets on than for me getting my own because I know they deserved them, and I wanted it for them so bad. Once they got those on, I was even more proud than I ever thought I could be.”
Rice went on to share, “As a coach, knowing that I have helped them achieve their dreams of being a national champion means the world to me. I love these girls and watching them win those white satin jackets was the best thing for me because it made me so proud of them and the accomplishment.”
Rice credited the team’s success to Kristen Martin, “I think that the biggest contributing factor to the success of this young squad was Kristin Martin. She has been amazing with the kids, and the kids love her so much. She handles two successful teams with ages from 6-14, and she has a daughter on Greenup County Varsity, who’s a senior, and two sons who she all takes care of. To say she is successful is for sure. Since middle school she has inspired me so much to be a coach and an amazing role model for these kids. Being able to coach on her side is amazing!” It is crystal clear that Greenup County means business when it comes to cheer with coaches like Martin, Berry, Scott, Griffith, Rice, and so many more. It is no wonder that these squads have earned so much success. If you want to be the best, you must train like the best and be coached by the best.
Other local area schools also got to the chance to compete on the mats at this year’s NHSCC. Russell finished seventh and scored the highest in the semis and advanced straight to finals that was done by only three teams of the 86 teams competing in the D2 small varsity division. It was the first time in Russell’s history that they had a cheer squad go straight to finals after the first semi-finals. Raceland finished 22 of 45 in the small II non tumbling division. This was the first cheerleading squad from Raceland’s history to advance into the National Semi-Finals. Ashland Middle School made it to the semi-finals while Ashland Blazer finished 15th in the D2 medium varsity game day division.