MECHANICSBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — Over the weekend, Cumberland Valley held a cheerleading college recruiting combine giving almost 300 athletes exposure to over 50 colleges. It was the first event of its kind for Pennsylvania.

The cheerleaders were able to showcase their skills and meet with prospective collegiate programs. The athletes ran through a variety of tumbling and stunting skills, and had a chance to ask college programs questions about the sport.

“As cheerleading continues to evolve, we want to ensure our athletes are aware of the opportunities that exist at the college level,” said Cumberland Valley Cheerleading Head Coach Kristi Shaffner. “Saturday’s college combine at Cumberland Valley High School had athletes from across the country traveling to showcase their skills to college coaches.”

The opportunity to meet with so many programs at once encouraged cheerleaders to travel from as far as Massachusetts and Texas.

“It is such an honor for Cumberland Valley High School to host the first-ever Pennsylvania College Cheerleading Recruitment Combine,” said CV assistant coach Talia Merlie. “Almost 300 athletes came together to showcase their ability to more than 50 collegiate programs from across the country.”

Among the 50-plus programs, top colleges attended the combine, including: Penn State University, University of Kentucky, California Baptist University, Towson, JMU, University of New Hampshire, Morgan State, and University of Delaware.

“As a former college coach, I know recruiting top talent to your team takes time,” Merlie said. “Saturday’s event is a great opportunity for the high school athletes to meet coaches of the top programs in the country, and understand what it takes to cheer at the next level – not only athletically, but academically, too.”

Over the years, Cumberland Valley has emerged as one of the top high school cheer programs in not only the state, but the country. The Eagles have helped train many athletes to advance to the collegiate level.

Currently, the program has four cheerleaders on Penn State’s team, an athlete at University of South Florida (D1A Game Day national champions), an athlete at Morehead State (53-time national champions), as well as cheerleaders on the teams at Towson, University of Rhode Island, and James Madison University.

“Many of the athletes have trained for years and are excited to know there are now NCAA recruitment opportunities,” Shaffner said. “We are grateful to be able to help educate the athletes and their parents as well as encourage them to have important conversation about college athletics.”

Cumberland Valley says the event was very successful, and already plans to host its second-ever cheer college recruiting combine on Saturday, May 11, 2024.