JonPeakCheerSTORY

Members of the senior team from ages 12-16 practice on a recent afternoon at Peak Performance All-Star Cheer and Dance in Rutland City. They have recently moved from the Diamond Run Mall.

It’s no surprise that a place that trains cheerleaders to win state and local championships would spring back from a setback.

Cara Gauvin, who runs Peak Performance All-Star Cheerleading and Dance, had been a tenant at the Diamond Run Mall for about seven years when, in September, she was told the gym’s lease would not be renewed and she had 24 hours to vacate.

But Gauvin, who coaches the Rutland High School cheer team, said local landlord Joseph Giancola has been accommodating in making the new Peak Performance — on Howe Street — a good place to train athletes.

“I really like the new space. It’s great actually, for what we do,” she said.

The Peak gym, which trains cheerleaders from a number of Rutland County schools including Fair Haven, Mill River and Poultney, is doing well, according to Gauvin.

“I started the gym in the hopes of helping all the area teams, not necessarily just Rutland, who I happen to coach. I try hard to make those facilities available and to help the other teams as well,” she said.

Peak is the only all-star cheerleading gym in Vermont and has a United All-Star Cheerleading Federation designation. The members of the gym can travel to the annual All-Star competitions.

Gauvin said she and the other coaches “didn’t want to have a lot of down time” in training their athletes. However, some of the programs Peak generally offers had to be pushed back because of the move.

“The move was quick because I have great family and friends and athletes. There was probably, gosh, I don’t know, at least 50 people helping us move all the stuff. We moved everything in probably half a day from the mall to the new space,” she said.

The new gym is a converted warehouse that has a lot of open space and high ceilings. Gauvin said Peak owns a spring floor and a full cheerleading floor and unlike the mall space, the Howe Street site can put out the flooring side-by-side, which altogether requires a 72-feet by 42-feet space.

“So yeah, it’s pretty big,” she said.

Gauvin said most cheer gyms she’s visited are in industrial parks where large, open spaces are available. Having a large open space on Howe Street is the greatest advantage of their new location, Gauvin said.

“We’re not quite as visible as we were at the mall, however, it wasn’t like there was a lot of people walking through the mall on a regular basis. There wasn’t very much there,” Gauvin said with a laugh.

The mall closed in October.

The Rutland High School cheerleading team that Gauvin coaches has won 11 state titles and four New England titles since 2006. Twice the RHS team has gone to nationals, winning second place when they competed in Dallas in 2015 and first place when they competed in Ocean City, Maryland in 2017.

“When (the athletes) come to Peak, it’s really a specialty. The kids that we get that cheer in our full-year program are kids that are going to make cheerleading their sport,” she said.

Peak Performance will have an open gym on Monday from noon to 2 p.m. For a $10 drop-in fee, students can learn about what happens at the gym.

In January, Peak is adding a recreational program which Gauvin said is a “little less competitive than the All-Star program” and new cheer-specific tumbling classes.

The gym program has a website at peakallstarcheer.com

patrick.mcardle@rutlandherald.com

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