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Athlete of the Week: Abigail Jahoda

(Editor's note: Throughout the local high school sports season, Culpeper Times will again recognize an “Athlete of the Week” from one of the sports on a rotating basis. This week we feature cheerleading. At the end of the year the Times will select a male and female athlete at both Culpeper County and Eastern View high schools and recognize them as “Athlete of the Year” at their respective schools.)

Culpeper County High School senior Abigail Jahoda has shown not only commitment, but also talent as she juggles her responsibilities as a CCHS cheerleader and a member of the Blue Devil band. Her flexibility and leadership earns her recognition the Culpeper Times “Athlete of the Week.”

“Abby is extremely dedicated, she plays in the band and does cheerleading, too, and sometimes it's not easy to do both,” said CCHS coach Dawn Hirte. “(The Saturday before last) she had both band and our football game and she made it a point to get here. She's not only extremely committed, but she also always has a smile on her face. This is her third year on the squad. I'm going to miss her, she's a great kid!”

Hirte added that Jahoda has served as a mentor to many of the other girls.

“They respect her,” she said.

Jahoda said she doesn't mind her busy schedule.

“I always wanted to cheer so in 10th grade I just decided to go for it,” she said. “I do football, basketball and competition.

“I love football and our team and I always give them my best. Sideline is not as serious (as competition), you can have a lot of fun out there. Competition is is so much more work and takes a lot of dedication.”

Jahoda said she enjoys the adrenaline rush during cheer competitions when she runs out on the mat with her squad and everyone is cheering for them.

“I try to have fun in whatever I do,” she said. “You can't take everything seriously all the time.”

During her high school years Jahoda has played soccer and also run track, as well as cheering.

“I'm thinking about trying out for track again this year,” she said.

While the other cheerleaders are taking a break during halftime of football games, Jahoda, still in her cheer outfit, can be seen playing tenor saxophone when the marching band takes the field.

She is also a good student.

“I like both science and English,” she said. “Human Anatomy is probably my favorite class. I would like to study forensic science in college.
“I like Virginia Tech, but I might go to Shenandoah University because of its music program.”

Jahoda said her sister, Emily, who is five years older is also her best friend.

“I love to be with my sister,” she said. “We look a lot alike and people think we're twins.”

The cheer squad will be on the sidelines at football games until early November. Shortly after that comes the Battlefield District tournament for the competition squad.

NOTE: Eastern View High School assistant coach Danielle Tardif nominated sophomore Aleshia Pullin.

“She made the varsity as a freshman and is still one of our younger girls,” said Tardif. She has really stepped up to the plate and done everything the team needed. She's very motivated.

“She went from mainly tumbling to being in every stunt we do. Her thoughtfulness and consideration for the others on the team is tremendous. She has grown so much. She is really a young leader.”
Pullin said she has been cheering since she was 5 years old.

“Back then, I had no idea what I was doing,” she said, laughing.

Pullin said that although she is more involved in stunts this year, tumbling is still her favorite aspect of cheer.

“I like tumbling,” she said. “Only some people have it and I have it. It's fun. You can do multiple things.”

Pullin said her biggest challenge is “not getting nervous, trying to tune everyone out when I'm out there.”
Pullin also plays lacrosse, as well as sideline and competitive cheering.

Although she lists English as her favorite subject, Pullin said she eventually wants to be an emergency room doctor.
“It's something I've wanted to do since I was a little girl,” she said.

E-mail Staff Writer Ray Finefrock at: rfinefrock@timespapers.com
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