NILES - LaBrae student Bryson Harris isn't a stereotypical boy, or a stereotypical cheerleader for that matter.
A two-time National Champion in solo and team competitions, Bryson was recently noticed and selected to be a finalist in the Afterschool Awards competition.
"At the age of 10, he has the dedication and will to be the best he can,'' said his coach, Michelle Hether at Cheer Time Athletics in Warren. ''He loves this sport, and he leaves a lasting mark. Girls run up to him and ask for autographs after competitions."
Tribune Chronicle / Renee Fox
Standing atop the shoulders of his 10-year-old twin sister Brynley, Bryson Harris lights up the floor of Cheer Time Athletics with his nationally acclaimed cheer and tumbling success.
According to his mother, Shalin Harris, Bryson has won more than 40 medals, many while standing atop the shoulders of his twin sister, Brynley. The twins started tumbling together at the age of 4 and come from a "cheer family." Both of Bryson's parents were cheerleaders at Ravenna High School, and his mother currently operates Cheertastic Ohio, a tuition-free recreation cheer company.
But getting Bryson to talk about it isn't easy.
"I don't talk so I can listen," Bryson said.
Youth Solo National Champion
Youth 2, first place
Youth 3, first place
Cheer Classic Tumble Off, first place
Voting to pick the Afterschool Awards winner lasts through Aug. 10. Watch routines and vote online at www.afterschoolawards.com
By all accounts modest and shy when not performing, he said he doesn't get nervous at competitions, but thinks about keeping his movements and routine tight.
"I feel great when we land the stunt and I know I am his base. We trust each other," Brynley said.
The siblings are not rivals, they say, but work well and practice together, playing up their individual strengths on the floor.
"All of their friends think it is really cool to watch them cheer, they even come to the practices to watch if they can't travel to the competitions," Shalin said.
Bryson, who has also been on LaBrae's and Warren's Athletic Club baseball all-star teams, served on his school's student council last year.
"He is a true performer who is always modestly prepared to assist others," Hether said.