Sears Soars In More Ways Than One 

By Ashlee Buhler 

Envision a five-hour school day, then gymnastics practice for four hours; throw in cheerleading practice once or twice a week, cheering on the sidelines at her high school football game and attending cheer competitions on the weekends. That has been the life of Jamison Sears the last three months. 

It’s safe to say Sears isn’t your typical high school student. In fact, she’s the best gymnast in the state of Virginia, and one of the best gymnasts in the whole country. (Sears was the #1 gymnastics recruit for the Class of 2023!) But for the last two seasons, when she wasn’t bringing home titles from some of the biggest gymnastics competitions around the country, she was cheering her heart out for Tabb High School. 

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!”

Once her 2022 gymnastics season wrapped, Sears, now a senior at Tabb High School, shifted her focus to her final season of cheer. She and her team started the season with a win against Grafton, Lafayette. Bruton, York, Warhill, Jamestown, Poquoson and New Kent, and recently ended the season with a fifth place finish at the State Championship. And while it wasn’t ever Sear’s intention to become a cheerleader, she has no regrets doing it. 

“My favorite aspect about cheer is how much of a team sport it is,” Sears said. “In gymnastics, yes, you have a team, but it’s still kinda on you. Cheer just really brings you all together to be one and I love that!”

That team aspect will be a huge part of Sear’s next chapter at the University of Alabama, where she has earned a full ride scholarship for gymnastics. She is slated to join the team in 2023 and looks forward to being a part of the ever competitive SEC conference. 

“I have always wanted to be in the SEC,” Sears said. “I had visited the University of Michigan and I loved it there, it was beautiful. I thought that was the place and then weeks later I went to ‘Bama and it instantly felt like home. Everything about it felt like it was meant to be and I couldn’t be more happy about picking Bama. I am so excited to go next year!” 

Sears has high hopes for the future – such as doing All-Around in college and leading ‘Bama to another NCAA title. (The Crimson Tide have won six titles, the last being in 2012.) But for now, she’s focused on making the most of her senior season – one last ride with her friends and teammates at home. 

“This year is my last season and I just wanna have the most fun I possibly can and enjoy every last moment with my team and friends here at home,” Sears said. “Whatever god has in store for me this season… [I just want to] take it one step at a time.”

Photo Credits: Lloyd Smith; Jamison Sears

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