Athlete Spotlight: James Wood cheerleader Lauren Burkhamer

lbJames Wood High School 17-year-old senior

Sport: Cheerleading. Position: Side base and tumbler

Parents: Sarah and Brad Burkhamer

Hometown: Roanoke (moved to Winchester in Kindergarten)

What do you love about cheerleading?: I really like the atmosphere, especially with competing. Everyone around you is cheering for you and overall it’s a great feeling.

Most memorable moment in cheerleading: Getting second place at regionals this year and making it to states. (James Wood placed sixth at the Class 4 state competition.) With states, we went down to Richmond on Friday night and we spent the night in a hotel as a team. It was just a great bonding experience for everyone.

Most embarrassing moment in cheerleading: We got a lot of points and deductions at our first [competition] this year. There was a music issue that was mostly part of it.

Most difficult moment in cheerleading: Probably the amount of full outs (competition-style routines) we did for practice. We did around three to four a practice, and it’s every day. You physically get tired.

Three people you can have dinner with, dead or alive: [James Wood’s] head coach and assistant coach Wendy DeMaio and MiKayla DeMaio, and also my mom. I feel like we’d all have a great time. I have great relationships with all of them and like to spend time with them.

Biggest athletic influence: I’m also a competitive gymnast, so I would definitely have to say Simone Biles. She’s created her own skills. They’re very hard. The fact that she’s even physically able to do them, it just astonishes me.

Favorite teacher: Ms. [Stephanie] Britton from James Wood. She teaches anatomy and physiology. I’ve had her this year and last year. She just connects well with all the students. Anatomy is not an easy thing to learn, but it’s definitely more enjoyable with the way she teaches it. She gives a variety of experiences and examples.

Favorite athlete: Simone Biles

Favorite team: Philadelphia Eagles

Favorite TV show: “Criminal Minds”

Favorite song: “Good Days” by SZA

Favorite food: Macaroni and cheese

Worst thing you’ve ever eaten: Scallops

Plans after high school: I’m planning on going to a four-year university. I’m not really sure which one yet. Hopefully, I’ll study radiology, and I’m hoping to cheer in college. Over the years with gymnastics, I’ve had a lot of injuries, and just going to the doctors and looking at the x-rays, it’s super cool to understand what’s going on and how they tell when something’s fractured or broken, so radiology interests me.

— Compiled by Robert Niedzwiecki


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