Alpena coach up for national award

Alpena High School cheerleading coach Angel Howard, second from right, pictured here with gymnasts Lena Harrell, Paige Langley, Ashley Bridgewater, Reegan Potter and Trianna Rushton, has been nominated the 2020 Greatmats National Cheer Coach of the Year Award, along with 15 other coaches from 13 states.

Alpena High School cheerleading coach Angel Howard is one of 16 coaches from 13 states, who is vying for the title of 2020 Greatmats National Cheer Coach of the Year.

The award is part of Greatmats’ sixth annual National Award Series, which honors instructors, coaches and trainers who have made a positive impact on their clients and communities.

In getting nominated, one of Alpena’s cheerleaders said of Howard: “Coach Angel Howard has helped me a lot in my first two years of being a cheerleader. She is like a second mom to all of us girls. I could go to Coach Howard for literally anything, whether it’s troubles with a cheer to issues with a boy. If there was anyway I could give back to her for all she’s done for my team and teams before us it would be this.”

Voting to determine this year’s finalists will take place online through Nov. 16 at greatmats.com/2020-greatmats-national-cheer-coach-of-the-year.php.

The two coaches with the most votes will be named grand prize finalists and Greatmats will interview the two finalists before determining the winner.

The grand prize is $250 in Greatmats products for the school and a National Dance Instructor of the Year certificate.

Each voter who visits the site can only vote once. In the first three years of the award, more than 28,000 votes have been cast.

The 2020 nominees, listed by state, are:


Elicia Morigeau, Quad City Storm Elite, Prescott


Kori Johnson, Costa Mesa High School, Costa Mesa


Keyah Dupree, Tavares Youth Football League, Tavares

Niki Warner, Clay Rebels Athletics, Middleburg


Rylene Abbot, Hansen High School, Hansen


Jamie Hope, Manteno High School, Manteno


Abriel Fisher, Champion Force Athletics, Muncie


Jennifer Wood, Sedan High School, Sedan


Tabitha Grassmid, Champion Force Athletics, Walker

Angel Howard, Alpena High School, Alpena

New York

Phyllis Hill, Sachem Sports Club, Holbrook

Samantha Robinson, Xplosion All Stars, Jamestown


Amie Smarr, Champion Force Athletics, Norwalk


Jordan Jerrett, Claremore High School, Claremore


Rachel Shigo, Fleetwood Area High School, Fleetwood


Katrianna Tapscott, Kettle Run High School, Nokesville

Past Michigan nominees include Gina, Jennifer and Kelly Van Deinse of Grand Traverse Bay Gymnastics in 2016.


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