Sunday, 28 June 2020 17:40

Williams to represent North Carolina in 2021 Youth Shrine Bowl

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Emma Williams, a seventh grader at Rockingham, will cheer in the 2021 Youth Shrine Bowl of the Carolinas. Emma Williams, a seventh grader at Rockingham, will cheer in the 2021 Youth Shrine Bowl of the Carolinas. Contributed photo.

ROCKINGHAM — For one local middle school cheerleader, the lights will shine bright on the sidelines in January.

Emma Williams, a rising seventh grader at Rockingham Middle School, was named to the All-State cheerleading team last week. The accolade also carries with it a ticket to cheer for the North Carolina team in the Youth Shrine Bowl of the Carolinas.

“I’m excited to be named to the All-State team because a lot of great cheerleaders across North Carolina were chosen,” Williams, 12, said. “It’s such a great honor and I’m looking forward to cheering in front of everyone at the Youth Shrine Bowl.

“I also can’t wait to make new friends and memories,” she added. “It’s going to be so cool for all of the fans to see us out on the field.”

Despite the current restrictions on sports across the nation due to the coronavirus, the Youth Shrine Bowl is still set to be played at Sirrine Stadium in Greenville, South Carolina, in Jan. 2021.

A 501(C)(3) non-profit based in Hope Mills, the Youth Shrine Bowl of the Carolinas is the middle-school version of the Shrine Bowl, an all-star game played each December that highlights some of the top talent from both states. 

The last Richmond Senior High School player to compete was current Columbia University tailback Dante Miller in 2017. 

The youth level is broken into three games, as football players and cheerleaders in sixth, seventh and eighth grades each have their own individual game. 

There is no cost for the participants of the event, but Williams and her teammates will be asked to fundraise, and proceeds will go to various children’s hospitals across the two states.

Nicole Davis is the cheer and dance director for the event, and brings with her 30 years of cheerleading, gymnastics, coaching and judging experience.

Success in cheerleading and football runs in the Williams family, as Emma’s older sister, Abby, a current rising sophomore cheerleader at Richmond, was on the state championship team at Rockingham in 2018. 

Her dad, Greg Williams, an assistant head coach with the Raiders, was slotted as one of the East-West All-Star Game’s coaches for this summer. The July classic has since been canceled due to COVID-19, but he and the other coaches will return next summer.

Emma Williams was also on the Rockingham Youth all-star team when she was seven. One of her grandparents was a Shriner, a Masonic society first established in the 1870s.

“I’ve been cheerleading since I could walk,” Williams, a base, said. “It’s really cool that my dad and I will be in two different all-star games.

“My parents and grandparents have been very supportive,” Williams closed. “Abby is such a good cheerleader and I want to thank all of them for their help.”

Kyle Pillar

Three-time award-winning sports editor. Indiana University of Pennsylvania communications media and journalism alumni. English teacher, Ninth Grade Academy.

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