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Local Cheerleaders Take Home Gold Medal in International Cheerleading Competition

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Gold Medalists Giannah Mabie, Kalyb Bennefield, Kevin Mulhall and Ashton Gustafson

BELVIDERE (WREX) — Four NIC-10 Cheerleaders came home with a gold medal over the weekend.

Belvidere North Cheerleaders Giannah Mabie, Kalyb Bennefield, Kevin Mulhall, and Harlem Cheerleader Ashton Gustafson are all part of the US National Junior Coed Team. 

They were one stunt group out of the team to bring home gold after competing in the World Cheerleading Championship over the weekend.  

Mabie has been down this road before, winning a gold medal with the team in 2019, but she says this one is more special than the last. 

"It's honestly indescribable," Mabie said. "It's a great feeling especially knowing you worked so hard for it with people who you love the most." 

While others spend summers on vacation, they are in the gym practicing for their National and High School teams. 

"It was definitely hard like you feel a little bit drained," Bennefield said. "It's summer you wanna go have fun but once you get that gold medal and like you won it was worth it." 

Gustafson has not been part of the Blue Thunder's powerhouse cheerleading team, but winning gold made him realize he can accomplish anything.

"Knowing that it's expected to get first was very stressful," said Gustafson. "It feels really good to go on knowing that I can get first place."

Mulhall facing obstacles of his own, giving up football cleats for cheer shoes. 

He says being a gold medalist was not in the cards. 

"Just to win a World Title is the best thing I could have done," said Mulhall. "Overcoming all of these things I've been through. I'm super proud of myself." 

The athletes are continuing their hard work as competitive cheerleading inches closer. 

Both Belvidere North and Harlem aim to make it to the Cheerleading State Championship in February of next year. 

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Jemea Green joined the WREX team as a Multimedia Journalist and Videographer in February of 2021. She attended Northern Illinois University - where she received her Bachelor's degree in Journalism with a minor in Communication Studies in May of 2020.

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