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USA Football, a nonprofit youth football organization, has named Bloomington's Jeff Callahan as state coordinator for Illinois, kicking off a nationwide grass-roots program.

The program is designed to establish relationships between youth football leagues and USA Football at the state level. USA Football will appoint a coordinator for each of the 50 states, with Callahan being the first.

Callahan has been involved as a volunteer with youth sports for nearly 25 years. He spent the last 10 seasons with the McLean County Cougars Youth Football club. Callahan is a Bloomington High School graduate and attended Illinois State.

He is a business analyst for State Farm Insurance in Bloomington.

"I love football and have a passion to help kids learn and see them grow and develop," Callahan said. "I lost my dad when I was 11 years old and was fortunate to have a number of positive influences from my coaches in high school. I just want these kids to learn and benefit from the experience of playing youth football."

Cheerleading

Victory Academy teams shine

Three cheerleading squads from Bloomington-based Victory Academy won titles in the Illinois State Championships on Feb. 12 at Peoria. Taking state crowns were the Seniors (18-under), Juniors (14-under) and Minis (9-under) teams. The Victory Academy Mini Preps (7-under) team was runner-up.

The Victory Academy Juniors and Mini teams each placed 11th in the Cheersport National Championships last weekend in Atlanta, Ga. The Seniors squad placed 14th.

Victory Academy squads comprise cheerleaders from throughout the Pantagraph area, including Bloomington, Normal, Heyworth, Gibson City, Lexington, Towanda, Downs, Mahomet and Thawville.

From Pantagraph staff

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