Pop Warner junior midget cheerleaders finish eighth at nationals
By Anthony D. Alonzo Post-Tribune correspondent December 26, 2012 11:36PM
Updated: January 28, 2013 3:59PM
Region organizations have begun to announce their sports and recreation offerings for the new year as one local cheer team continues with their festive spirit coming off a strong showing in a national competition.
Hobart’s Pop Warner junior midgets cheer team started the season from the sidelines supporting the program’s corresponding football team at local games. Through their hard work and high-energy performances they continued to the league’s national championships in Florida.
Fifteen mostly 12-year-old girls cheered to a first place district finish followed by a second place showing at regionals in November. By the beginning of this month they learned they would be included in the Pop Warner nationals hosted at the Wide World of Sports complex at Disney World in Lake Buena Vista, Fla.
Starting at practices at Hobart’s Mundell Field during the long summer days to working out in the city’s Liberty Elementary School and Team Spirits in Portage during the fall, the Brickies gained cheer experience and competed like a seasoned team, according to assistant coach Karen Udoltz.
“They were very determined,” Udoltz said. “For a lot of the girls it will be their last year competing before high school. This was their last hurrah.”
Like several region football teams that headed to the Wide World of Sports Complex for nationals, the Hobart junior midgets traveled for their Dec. 5 competition booking. And Udoltz liked what she saw in the Sunshine State.
“The team had a good attitude and all 15 girls worked spectacular together,” said Udoltz, adding that the team overcame untimely injuries.
The girls tallied top scores with a routine that included a show-and-go, a scorpion turn into a leg lift, leading to an eighth-place finish in their age division. Twelve-year-old Erika Udoltz — Karen’s daughter — said her experience during her second season with the squad was fulfilling.
“The nationals were the best part of the season,” Erika said. “We gave it our all.”
Karen said she made unforgettable friendships as a second year coach and thanked the other coaches for their support. This year’s “last hurrah” was bittersweet for her.
“I will miss each and everyone of the girls,” Karen said. “Life seems a little boring without them 3 days a week.”
Portage youth basketball league sign-ups: Registration for the Youth Basketball League at the Portage Boys & Girl is open through Jan. 9. The league focuses on skill development, sportsmanship and fun.
The co-ed league is open to boys and girls ages 6 to 13. There are a limited number of available spots for each age division. Parents can register their children at 5895 Evergreen Ave., from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday. All players must be club members. Boys & Girls Club of Porter County offers annual membership starting at $35. League fees are $25 for the 6- to 7-year-old division, $30 for the 8- to 10-year-olds, and $35 for the 11- to 13-year-old divisions. All players receive a team t-shirt.
Games begin Jan.14. For more details, call Steve Letic at 762-4613, or visit www.bgcpoco.org.
Jim East shooting lessons: Basketball shooting lessons taught by Jim East will continue into the new year through January at the Fieldhouse-Merrillville (899 E. 99th Court.) East, a member of the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame and former boys basketball coach at Merrillville, will set appointments with the convenience of the player in mind. For more details, call 308-5504 or 662-8157.
Little League sign-ups: Lake Station Little League player registration for youths ages 4 to 18 has been scheduled for three dates in January and February. Youths are welcome to sign-up at the Lake Station Library (2007 Central Ave.) from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Jan. 12, 26, and Feb. 9. Fees are $75 for the first child and $35 for each additional family member. For more details, e-mail Karen Knight at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Andrean baseball camp: Andrean High School will host a six-week baseball camp starting Jan. 20. Head coach Dave Pishkur will direct the program in conjunction with U.S. Baseball Academy. Classes are available for players in grades 1-12 and are limited to six players per instructor. Sessions are offered in advanced hitting, pitching, catching, fielding and baserunning.
Costs start at $99 for six weeks. Registration is under way and space is limited. For more details, call (866) 622-4487, or visit www.USBaseballAcademy.com.