West Hills High School senior Jessica Levitt, 17, has been cheerleading for seven years—she's the one at the basketball game doing amazing backflips years after surgery for a fractured kneecap.
Jessica answered some questions about her time as a cheerleader:
Q: Why do you love cheerleading?
A: I love cheerleading because what many don't know is that it is actually a very competitive sport. It takes a lot of time and dedication. Sometimes it feels like it takes over my life with being in the cheer gym about 15 hours or more a week in order to prepare for the many competitions we participate in and also having to cheer for games outside of that, but its nice to have something that keeps me so busy. I also love the family dynamic that is created each year. I've met all of my closest friends though cheer and my coaches have become almost like my second parents.
Q: How did you fracture your kneecap and how did it affect your cheerleading?
A: The fracture in my kneecap was just an over use injury that I got from competitive dance when I was 9. I was actually able to keep dancing and cheerleading with it for about five years but eventually I had to have surgery. I ended up being out for six months and coming back into cheerleading I had to take my time and build my strength up so I wouldn't re-injure my knee. After a few months I had all of my skills back and have even improved since then.
Do you plan to continue cheerleading past high school?
Yes, I do plan to cheer in college and I also might stay in all-star cheerleading as well.
Do you remember a favorite game that you have cheered for? And what's your favorite sport to cheer for?
I'm a big sports fan so it's nice to have something that forces me to go to the events but I don't like cheering for any one sport more than the other. If I had to choose, I guess I would choose basketball just because its warmer in the gym than it is outside by the football field or the pool. But what I most like about cheer is competing. The most important competition my All-star team goes to is the cheerleading world championship, where talented teams from all around the world compete.
COMMENT: Ask Jessica a question about her cheerleading.
Also see: West Hills Girls Basketball Wins Quarterfinal Against San Marcos