Members of the Division 5 Champion Force-Mount Clemens Elite Cheer Team pose for a photo after their championship win at the 2019 NYAA Cheer Nationals in Orlando on July 20.

Members of the Division 5 Champion Force-Mount Clemens Elite Cheer Team pose for a photo after their championship win at the 2019 NYAA Cheer Nationals in Orlando on July 20.

Photo provided by Shelley Mitchell


Mount Clemens cheer team wins title

By: Julie Snyder | Mount Clemens - Clinton - Harrison Journal | Published August 9, 2019

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MOUNT CLEMENS — They are the champions!

Members of the Division 5 Champion Force-Mount Clemens Elite Cheer Team earned the national champion title at the 2019 NYAA Cheer Nationals in Orlando last month.

The team, called Mount Clemens Storm, is comprised of 18 Macomb County youths ranging in age from 8 to 19. According to head coach Shelley Mitchell, the team put Mount Clemens cheer on the map with its flawless performance on July 20.

Mitchell said the feat is a notable accomplishment, seeing as the team just came together in February.

“This was the first session for this team,” said Mitchell, a Champion Force coach of 15 years. “They really worked hard and were so dedicated, and it paid off. They really supported each other as a team.”

The Mount Clemens Elite Cheer organization had four teams receive bids to compete in the event. The Division 7 team walked away with a second-place title, and the Division 4 and Division 6 teams also put on great performances, according to Mitchell, who coaches at Champion Force with assistant coaches Jamie McIntyre and Jodi Mitchell.

“We are so honored that all four of our teams received national bids and had the chance to represent Michigan at Cheer Nationals,” Shelley Mitchell said. “We are very lucky to have such dedicated, hardworking and supportive young athletes.”

The win was an especially memorable one for 19-year-old Samantha Johnson, who graduated this year from Mount Clemens High School. She’s been involved in Champion Force and has worked with Mitchell since she was 4.

“It was my last competition; it was my last win,” she said. “I wanted to go out with a bang and I did.”

Johnson credited her teammates and Mitchell for helping her reach that goal.

“I love cheering with Shelley — she’s the best coach you could ask for. And this was the best team ever,” she said. “We practiced hard every day, supported each other. … We kept working so we could get out there and show them who we are. It was the best experience of my life, and if I could do it all over again, I would.”

Johnson plans to continue cheering in college and would even like to become a coach like her mentor someday.

“Shelley is like a stepmother to me,” she said. “She pushed me and she supported me over the years. She’s just a great coach to us all.”

The Champion Force-Mount Clemens Elite Cheer season runs from September through July. Tryouts and division assignments start at 2 p.m. Aug. 25 at the Champion Force training facility, located at 19719 15 Mile Road in Clinton Township.

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