by Dr. David Rosen
The World Spirit Federation, a national organizer of competitive cheer events, has named Franklin resident Claudia Shelton Athlete of the Month. She was recognized for her performance as part of the squad at Franklin’s Premier Athletics, a national organization that coaches competitive cheer teams. She has been a member of the Premier Athletic cheer squads for eight years and is a coach in the program. Currently she is part of the Royal Ladies team.
Shelton was nominated by her coach and head of Premier Athletics, Sean Simmons, who called her “one of the most inspiring athletes he’s ever coached!” He added that “her positivity and encouraging words at practices make her a super star.”
Competitive cheer has growing popularity in the United States and worldwide. In 2016 the International Olympic Committee (IOC) voted to include cheerleading among provisional Olympic sports, recognizing the status of cheer as a sport and paving the way for inclusion in the Olympics.
Shelton, who is a sophomore at Centennial High School, has been a competitive cheerleader in Franklin schools since the sixth grade. She was a member of the Poplar Grove competitive cheer squad and the Centennial High School competitive cheer squad. She was part of Centennial varsity team that won the state championship for the fourth year in a row in 2018, during her freshman year.
Shelton, who is has an outstanding academic record at Centennial, has a passion for cheering and trains at CrossFit Zoetic. Her dream is to be on the first US squad that competes at the Olympics.