Cheerleading is something Sears added to her plate during her junior year after retiring from Elite gymnastics and returning to public school. Sears was homeschooled from sixth to tenth grade to accommodate the rigorous training schedule that comes with being an Elite gymnast, but heading into her junior year she ultimately decided to prioritize her mental well-being and future in the sport. After the 2021 season, which included a ninth place All-Around finish at the American Classic, Sears decided to make the shift to Level 10 for her final two seasons, allowing her to live a more normal lifestyle and prioritize preparing for college.
“Elite was definitely hard for me and to be honest I didn’t really enjoy it all that much,” Sears said. “But looking back on it, it helped shape me into who I am today because it taught me to persevere and not give up no matter how rough the outcome is.”
Stepping away from Elite has meant more time for other activities, such as joining her high school sideline and competitive cheer team. The teams’ coach, well aware of Sears gymnastics accomplishments, decided to reach out when she learned Sears was returning to public school.
“I never really planned on doing cheer, it just kinda happened,” Sears said. “The coach had asked me if I wanted to and it seemed like a lot of fun so after a ton of convincing I started it and loved it!”
In addition to being on the sidelines at football games, Sears was a tumbler on Tabb’s competition team and also served as a front spot for one of the stunts. She managed to pull this off while also training in the gym for four hours a day, six days a week.
“It’s hard but my cheer coaches were very understanding so they made the routine simple for me so I could miss a couple practices and not miss too much,” Sears said.
Not many high school cheer teams can say they have one of the best gymnasts in the country on their side — one who not only competes at the highest level, but wins. Just this past February, Sears grabbed the All-Around, beam and floor title at the Nastia Liukin Cup – a moment that brought her to tears. A few months later she became a Level 10 national champion on beam and floor – solidifying herself among the very best in the nation.
“Going into last year I was just coming off a rough Elite season and wasn’t very confident,” Sears said. “I just wanted to be able to enjoy every part of gymnastics without a ton of stress and that’s exactly what happened. The Nastia Cup was a dream come true! I had such an amazing time and going into Nationals I didn’t wanna overthink anything, so I just kinda had fun with it the whole time. Coming out with two national titles was incredible!”