NORTH STONINGTON — When Wheeler High cheering coach Sherri Tardiff told sophomore Olivia Elliott she should compete for All-ECC honors, Elliott was hesitant.

"She was reluctant at first. She said 'I've got two more years,' but I knew she was a special athlete, and I knew she had a pretty good chance," Tardiff said.

Turns out, Tardiff was correct.

Elliott earned All-ECC Division III honors this season. She was one of seven cheerleaders to receive the honor. A total of 25 girls tried out.

Elliott is a back spot in the squad's stunt groups.

"She has amazing jumps. She is very sharp. She is also a dancer and her legs come up to her ear [during cheers]," Tardiff said.

Each competitor is required to perform a cheer and two jumps in front of a panel of judges. The judging took place at Ledyard High in February.

"She's very athletic and very coordinated and just an all-around nice kid, and we've got her for two more years," Tardiff said.

Wheeler's Gracie Anderson was the team's ECC sportsmanship recipient, and Valerie Knowles received the scholar-athlete award.

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