Mia Claridge has been a Benson High School cheerleader for three years, this year being honored to serve as the team’s captain.

“I enjoy everything about cheerleading,” Claridge said. “We are all friends on the team, we are like a family.”

Claridge has high praise for her teammates and coaches for the time and dedication they put into their sport.

“Everyone on the team really cares about cheerleading,” she said. “We enjoy our time together, working hard at practices and cheering at games. I love my team and I love cheering.”

Claridge’s coach, Elisia Rodriguez, has seen how much the captain has grown as a cheerleader during her years on the Benson team.

“Mia is a good leader,” Rodriguez said. “She is always ready to go, whether it’s at practice or at a game. She is polite, has a lot of good ideas, and is a motivational captain. What really stands out is her love for cheerleading.”

Claridge was inspired to cheer by watching her older sister, Emma, compete on the Bobcat team.

“I would watch her cheering at games and I knew that I wanted to cheer,” Claridge said.

Even though she competed in basketball, volleyball and softball in middle school, it was cheerleading that she knew she wanted to compete in during high school.

“Cheerleading is different from other sports,” she said. “Even though we might all be at different levels, we all have to learn the same routines and move together at the exact same time. Our coaches always remind us that we need to make our motions ‘clean and sharp.’ ”

In addition to cheerleading, Claridge is active in the Benson High School Drama Club. Her list of high school plays and musicals include: “Snow Angel” and “High School Musical” her freshman year, “Beauty and the Beast” her sophomore year and “Trap” her junior year. This year the Drama Club is working on the musical “Spamalot.” Claridge not only performs in school plays and musicals but she also does the makeup, makes costumes, creates the choreography and has been on the crews.

Claridge sees a strong comparison between drama and cheer.

“Drama is a really cool place where everyone can be creative,” she said. “Cheering is similar to being on stage – you are performing in both.”

Cheerleading and drama are definitely two of the important activities in Claridge’s high school life but she looks beyond those for inspiration.

“I really look up to my mom,” she said. “She is a strong lady who beat cancer twice in her life. She is the coolest person I know.”

Claridge and her teammates and coaches are working hard for their appearance at the state cheerleading championships that will be held on March 6 at Poston Butte High School. The Show Cheer took second in the regionals but they are hoping to bring the state championship home to Benson.

This year all three of the Benson SpiritLine teams made the state championships. Joining the cheerleaders at the state competition will be the Hip-Hop and All-Girls’ Stunt teams.

After graduation, Claridge plans to study cosmetology and coach cheerleading.


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