In one smooth, perfectly choreographed and seemingly effortless move, Panther Valley varsity cheerleaders Sarah-Mary Tucker, Sarah Marouchoc and Rylie Krapf swoop Kiley Boswell into the air, lifting her above their heads, so high that she touches the ceiling. Kiley lifts her left knee and stretches her arms up and out. The girls hold the pose, called the "Liberty stunt," standing tall and absolutely still.
Then, just as smoothly and swiftly, Kiley is lowered to the ground.
It was that grace, strength and talent that earned Kiley, 13, of Summit Hill, the coveted title of Universal Cheerleading Association's All American at a varsity cheerleading camp in August. The honor gives Kiley the opportunity to perform in the 92nd annual Philadelphia Thanksgiving Day parade.
"I'm very excited to be in the parade, and to represent the school and the Panther Valley varsity cheerleaders," Kiley says. "I'm thankful for my coaches for everything they taught me. They taught me that if I work hard, it will pay off."
Kiley's coaches are proud of her.
"She did an excellent job for it being her first year on varsity," says coach Heidi Seiwell.
When she gets to Philadelphia, Kiley, a daughter of Brad and Andrea Boswell, perform with the UCA contingent, which includes cheerleaders from across the country.
The All Americans will be in Philadelphia from Tuesday through Friday, "practicing their routine and visiting Philadelphia landmarks," says Catherine Morris of Universal Dance Association, which is affiliated with UCA.
"All Americans are selected via a tryout based on either superior cheerleading or dance skills," she says. "Only the top 12 percent of the cheerleaders and dancers who attend Varsity camps earn the chance to march in a holiday spectacular of this caliber."
While at the parade, Kiley will keep her eyes open for celebrities: She wants to meet a star.
"I told my Mom that I wanted to see a star there, because I never met a star," she says. "To me, it doesn't matter who. I just want to meet somebody famous."
Winning the title
Kiley is one of just four Panther Valley cheerleaders since 2006 to be named an All American by the Universal Cheerleaders Association. Kasey Gray (who now coaches), Katie Kabana, and Theressa Eckhart have also won the title. The title took Theressa to London to perform in the New Year's Day parade.
This year, Kiley and Katie were chosen as All American cheerleaders. Katie would have gone to London. Participation in the parades is divided by age, with the younger cheerleaders going to Philadelphia, and the older ones going to London. The cheerleaders must raise the money for the trips on their own.
Kiley and Katie were chosen from among 500 junior high and high school cheerleaders who auditioned at varsity camps this summer. Kiley and Katie attended the Pine Forest cheerleading camp in Beach Lake, Wayne County, and auditioned by performing a cheer, a jump and a dance before a panel of UCA judges on Aug. 16.
"I was very nervous," Kiley said. "I didn't think I was really ready. But when I went out there, I just did it."
Her accomplishments have drawn the attention of school officials.
"I'm happy for Kiley's accomplishment, as she represents the character of a Panther Valley student who is performing well in the classroom and developing her talents to become a well-rounded person," says Panther Valley Superintendent Rosemary Porembo. "Kiley's experience will help her to develop confidence as she matures and this will definitely help her as she applies this to other challenges in her life. It is wonderful to see the support she received from her parents."
Inspired by Family
Kiley's love of cheerleading is a family tradition. Her maternal grandfather, Dave Malkin, is a football coach for the Tamaqua Area School District, and Kiley's Mom Andrea was a cheerleader for Panther Valley, as were her aunts, Jennifer and Sally. Kiley's sister, Kayla, 12, is a junior varsity cheerleader.
"So we have a long line of cheerleaders," says Andrea Boswell. "They both are better than any of us."
Kiley's interest, sparked by her Mom, was apparent at a young age.
"When I was younger, I used to go to the football and basketball games, and I would see the cheerleaders, and I thought they were so cool. I wanted to become one," she says.
Kiley started cheering at knee-hi football games when she was about 6 years old, and then advanced to junior high, junior varsity, the competition team, and, as of last year, varsity.
"I like stunting. I think it's fun, and neat to learn new stunts," she says.
Kiley works hard to perfect her routines.
"She practices three days a week from 3:30 to 5:30, and she practices a lot at home," Andrea Boswell says.
Kiley is also a talented singer, singing the national anthem at varsity football and basketball games.
"Brad and I are extremely proud of both of our daughters. Kiley amazes me more and more each day. She is a very thoughtful and caring and has a great sense of humor. We laugh a lot in our household," ," Andrea Boswell says. "She is turning into an amazing young lady and we couldn't be happier."