Williams, Fisher latest Tornado cheerleaders to earn All-American status
By John Enrietto
Eagle Sports Editor
BUTLER TWP — In terms of cheerleading background, Paige Williams and Taylor Fisher couldn’t be more different.
Nowadays, they share a common bond — as Universal Cheerleaders Association (UCA) All-Americans and the only two seniors on the Butler High School varsity cheerleading squad.
“We usually have three or four seniors, if not more,” Williams said. “It will be a lot different this year. Being named All-American is a good start for us.”
The two tried out for All-American earlier this summer, at Camp Trails End in the Poconos. Butler was one of 25 cheerleading teams at the camp and every girl at the camp is invited to try out.
Each girl performs a cheer and an approximate 30-second dance in front of a few UCA judges. While nearly 200 girls try out, only 40 or so are selected as All-Americans.
“It’s a great achievement, being selected,” Butler cheerleading coach Marianne Miller said. “Our program has fared well in those tryouts and that’s a tribute to our girls and how hard they work.”
Taylor Stobert, Brooke Carr and Haley Stariat made All-American from Butler in 2014. Jordan Mazzanti made it the year before that.
All four are now on collegiate squads. Mazzanti is cheering at Penn State while Stariat (Slippery Rock), Stobert (Indiana) and Carr (Gannon) are on PSAC squads.
“Anyone at the camp is eligible to try out, but we only allow our seniors to do it,” Miller said. “We feel it’s an experience they deserve.
“Paige and Taylor have been great leaders. They’ve been encouraging to the younger girls on the team and have been helping them along. They’re great role models.”
Williams has been a cheerleader since first grade, coming up through the East Butler Midget program.
“All of my friends were doing it and it was a fun way to keep active,” she said.
Fisher did not get involved with cheerleading until eighth grade, but failed to make the junior high squad during tryouts that year.
“That was heartbreaking, I was really sad about it,” Fisher said. “I didn’t give up, though. I worked harder, took more gymnastics classes, tried out my freshman year and made it.
“I was just going to try out for the game squad, but decided to go for the comp (competition) squad as well and made both. To get All-American now ... I’m pretty proud of how far I’ve come.”
By making All-American, Williams and Fisher were invited to participate in a London (England) parade over New Year’s, but neither will make the trip. Both received medals for their achievement and have been invited to be UCA instructors next year.
Butler’s cheerleaders enter this season as defending PIAA champion.
“We feel like we’ll have another strong team, even though we’re young,” Williams said. “Taylor and I have been around long enough to help teach the other girls how it works.”
“We do have a lot of new people on the squad,” Fisher said. “It’s kind of scary because they’re not used to what we do. But the younger girls have a lot of skills and they’re picking up things quickly. I think this could be crazy good.”