Cheerleaders Crowned National Game Day Champs

Daisy Cooley, Staff Writer

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The cheerleaders tumbled their way to first place at the UCA High School Nationals in Walt Disney World and returned home as National Champions, bringing them closer as both a team and a family.
“The title we won was National Champs in the Game Day division, at the National level with high schools all across the United States at the UCA National High School Cheerleading Championship held at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Disney World,” Cheer Coach Sarah Parker said.
The cheerleaders put in months of hard work and practice in order to participate in Nationals at Disney World. They competed alongside many other teams from different places.
“Most teams don’t practice before their next competition, but we did. We first had to compete at a Regional competition in order to qualify for Nationals. Prelims are more like, ‘okay, now we know what it feels like,’ and we take what the judges say and use that to our advantage. Nationals is a chance for teams all across the states to come together in one location and compete with the best of the best,” Parker said.
They had to face 24 other top teams, six also from Texas, providing plenty of healthy competition from all around.
“We were up against many Texas teams in the finals, which is rare because usually there’s one team from each state, but there were about six or seven teams from Texas, including one of our rivals. When we heard the placing of our rival, that in itself was a victory to us because we knew we had already beat them,” Parker said.
The cheerleaders have been preparing for this for a long time, and they did not plan on giving up until the winners were announced.
“We’ve been practicing all year long for this competition. While we were there, we got to practice on the famous football field at the All Star Sports Resort, and we practiced a lot. We went to a Disney park on Friday, then practiced more. We didn’t go to a park again until Monday, because the rest of our time was filled with competition,” Parker said.
The day of the competition was quite busy, but the girls knew they would be giving their best effort on the stage and that it would be worth it.
“I knew that my teams were ready, and especially right before finals it was the strongest team bonding that they had experienced all year. Everybody was pumped up and unified. Watching the other teams at the semi-finals, we knew we had to bring our A-game,” Parker said.
The girls wanted the title and worked hard to get it. All the extra preparation really paid off in the end. Parker recalled the girls reaction as they revealed the winners.
“We did really well in the first round and advanced to the finals. Our final performance was really good and superior, with only a couple of minor flaws. We knew we would be okay. They called a tie for third place, which was the same way they called it at UIL, so we just assumed it was us. When they didn’t call our name, we knew we were in the top two, and that’s when everybody started crying,” Parker said.
It was not just the girls emotions in full effect. Parker admits that she too, went wild during the announcements.
“I get extremely nervous, sometimes I close my eyes and feel like I’m going to vomit. For this performance we were able to stand at the end of the stage, so I could hit the stage and go crazy. Then all of a sudden, it’s over in a flash. When we found out we were in the top two, I had already started crying, and then whenever they announced one of our competitors as second, I just bawled like a baby and peed my pants; everybody knows me for peeing my pants,” Parker said.
Every cheerleader is proud of their hard work and dedication after this competition and know that they have grown closer as a team through this experience.
“We hoped that the teams could walk away knowing they gave the best they could as one, as a team, and as a family. Winning has brought the girls closer, and it justifies the entire season. I don’t think it would have made a difference if we hadn’t won. Yeah, we wanted to win, but we’re realistic, so we were all comfortable with being top three,” Parker said.
The trip and the hard work earned the team the title.
“We hoped to return knowing that we made our school proud. I am extremely privileged and honored to be able to represent our school and our state at such a prestigious competition,” Parker said.

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