Getting Back In The Zone: A Florida Gym Returns To Practice After COVID-19

In the All Star cheerleading world, time seems to move as quickly as a cheerleading routine, fast-paced, upbeat, and full of energy.

For coach and owner of Zone Cheer, Jessica Moltisanti, when this fast-paced world came to a sudden halt, it put things into perspective. 

“COVID has made us slow down and realize just how important family time is,” she said. “I love competing, and I love being in cheerleading, it’s been my life. But, having three kids of my own, I know finding that balance is important. Be competitive, and enjoy your family time. It is important to have a sense of competitiveness in a good nurturing environment, and we want people that want that balance.”


Family is the word to describe the Zone Cheer All-Stars atmosphere. Walking into the gym, you get an overwhelming sense of joy to be together again. 

“We had virtual team practices to keep kids moving their bodies and just to talk to make sure we all stayed connected and were available to the athletes,” she said. “This opened our eyes to how much everybody loves Zone.”

According to coach Lexie King, this love and passion is mutual from athlete to coach and coach to athlete. 

“The feeling of coming back into the gym and seeing our athletes after being apart for so long was eye-opening. It showed us how much we missed being together and the love we have for them.”

The family-first mantra doesn’t stop there; Zone understands that everybody has been affected differently. 

“Many people have been affected, and I want to keep these kids in sports,” Jessica said. To make that possible for the upcoming season, Zone has decided to cut costs for customers and choreography, travel mostly in-state, and keep the current uniforms for another season.

Kennedy Ryan, a current athlete at Zone, expressed her gratitude for her cheer family. 

“The staff has been incredible throughout this hard time, they greet us with hand sanitizer and a smile,” she said. “Zone is such a positive environment, which has made this difficult time so much easier. The staff and the athletes are adapting well to the new conditions! We are always having a good time, distanced or not!”

Jessica said that athletes came back stronger due to the virtual tumbling and conditioning classes they offered during the break. 

“One of our athletes was a level two tumbler that is now throwing layouts because of her extra conditioning and stretching,” she added. “Virtual classes kept the kids moving, and we wanted them to be strong mentally while giving them a sense of normalcy during the unknown.”

When Zone opened back up, Jessica made sure that the staff and athletes had everything they needed to follow guidelines, explained coach Shelby King. “We started with no contact small classes and privates and were given masks and sanitization products,” she said. 

Zone has six feet apart stations marked by stickers on the floor, and the athletes enter and exit the gym one at a time to help promote social distancing. “Our athletes are excited and very motivated to be back in the gym; the long break has made them want to be back and work 10x harder,” added Shelby. 

Moving towards the future, the staff is continuing to follow guidelines. They are excited to get more athletes back in the gym doing what they love. This season, they are projecting to have seven All-Star teams in addition to their Middle School, High School, and Tumbling Academy programs. 

“We are excited to start our 12th season here at Zone and are looking forward to many more years to come.” - Jessica Moltisanti, Owner

Written By: Madeline Bassett

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