Salem has plenty of athletic training facilities within its borders, but none for the constantly evolving sport of competition cheer. That changed when Bobby Lozano and Craig Hilsmier opened Iconix Allstars this January.
The approximately 4,750 square foot facility is located in the warehouse across from GW Carver Elementary at 629 South Broad Street. The gym area features a 2,016 square foot spring-loaded carpet, 500 square feet of “dead mat,” and a tumble track.
“We picked Salem, because it’s so competitive,” Lozano said. “They’re good at so many other sports, why not add this to their repertoire?” Since they location isn’t too far from the interstate, they expect it to draw athletes from the New River Valley too.
Although the offer tumbling and training classes geared specifically toward high school and middle school tryouts, the main purpose of the gym is to form the “Iconix Allstars” U.S. All Star Federation competition cheer and dance team. The season for the USASF runs from May to April.
They will hold sign-ups to try out for their USASF Iconix Allstars team on Saturday, May 5. Tryouts will be held the following weekend.
Lozano, 23, is the head coach for Iconix Allstars. He’s USASF certified, a training that helps him safely spot landings from cheerleaders’ twists, tucks, and tumbles.
Most of Lozano’s gymnastics and cheer training as a youngster in New Jersey was more informal; he went to open gyms and classes. When he graduated from Staunton River High School in 2007, his interest in the sport became more serious. He competed with
a Roanoke allstars team *Cheer Extreme in 2007 and 2008, then drove to North Carolina during the 2009 season to compete with Cheer Extreme Allstars. After he aged out of USASF, he took a few years off and recently coached for another Roanoke area allstars team.
“This has been a dream since I can remember – to open up my own gym,” Lozano said. His day job is as a catering coordinator at the Tanglewood Panera. Co-owner Hilsmier, whose day job is with Carilion’s human resources department, deals mainly with the business side of the gym and is confident that the gym will fill a niche in the Roanoke area because competition cheer is becoming more complex and demanding as a sport.
“The complexity of the tumbling, where it used to be a tuck – now it’s a double-twist,” Hilsmier said.
For more information on Iconix Allstars’ classes, the USASF team, or their facility, visit their website at www.iconixallstars.com