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NGU Grad Revives Cheer Team at Alma Mater

Lindsey [Chambers] Esposito ('10) is back at her alma mater, and she has Woodmont High Schoolís competitive cheer team back where it hasn't been since 2009 at the state championships.

Woodmont, under first-year coach Esposito, will be one of 16 teams competing in the Class AAAAA Finals Saturday at Colonial Life Arena in Columbia.

Esposito, a 2006 Woodmont graduate, was on the Wildcats' cheer team all four years she was in high school. She began coaching at Carolina Power Tumbling in Powdersville.

"I got into coaching early in college," said Esposito, a graduate of North Greenville University. "I started with little kids in gymnastics."

After graduating from North Greenville, Esposito received an offer to coach at Hillcrest High School. She served as the Rams' cheer coach for five years.

"I loved Hillcrest, the kids and the community," Esposito said. "I always had the desire to coach at my alma mater. The opportunity presented itself, and the timing was right. I thought God wanted me here, so I took the job."

Britney Reid, who cheered under Esposito at Hillcrest, is her assistant. Reid, a senior at Clemson University, is doing her student teaching at Woodmont.

Esposito said the team got off to a slow start this season.

"We were behind skill-wise," she said. "I have high expectations, but having high expectations doesn't mean that you are a mean person. Once they saw that, I think they said, 'Maybe she isn't so bad after all.' Building that trust was important early on."

The captains for Woodmont are seniors Courtney Smith, Reylan Cook and McKenzie Lesley, all of whom have been on the team for four years.

Esposito broke her back in May 2016 while coaching at Hillcrest. She had surgery in November 2016, followed by physical therapy. She said the accident changed her approach to coaching.

"Now I coach more verbally than physically," Esposito said. "I have finished all my physical therapy. I only do water therapy now. I am running and have a goal of being in a marathon in April."

Photos provided by Lindsey Esposito

Story by Odell Suttle, printed by Greenville News, USA Today Network, South Carolina.

                        

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