BRIDGEWATER, NJ - Raritan resident Jeramyiah Gonzalez placed first at the Spirit of Hope National Championship, in North Carolina, Jan. 18 and Jan. 19.

Gonzalez also placed first in the 2020 CHEERSPORT National Cheerleading Championship held Feb. 15 and Feb. 16 in Georgia.

Gonzalez is a senior in the TOPS (Technical Occupational Preparation for Success) alternative education program at the Somerset County Vocational & Technical High School.

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Gonzalez, according to a release from the school, is part of the Open Fire and Stun Gunz teams in the Central Jersey All-Stars Cheerleading program, in Kenilworth. With the victory, he and the team are invited to participate in the world championships in Florida.

Gonzalez, the release said, has been cheering for 11 years and, on his teams, he is a main base, side base and tumbler. Typically, he and his team practice four times a week for sessions that are between four and six hours a day.

"Cheering teaches you a lot of life skills," he said in the release. "I've learned the importance of being on time, respect, discipline, being unselfish and bonding with my team."

"You must be physically and mentally strong," he added. "You must have stamina and endurance to be successful."

Gonzalez hopes to continue cheering in college, and is interested in pursuing a degree in sports medicine or physical therapy.