Cheering for the Nation

Cheer Attends UCA National Competition For the First Time

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Photo by Aja Steiner

With a strong stance, the varsity cheer team performs at state on Jan 16. Cheering at the their first National Cheer Championship and overall placing eighth in the nation, exceeded the team's expectations. "We went to nationals because our team wanted a challenge," sophomore Kristine Kim said. "We were coming back from a back to back state title and we wanted to step up our game and try something new."

Ava Caldwell, Reporter

With flags, signs and stunts up in the air, cheer attended their first ever national competition from Feb. 7-8. The team placed eighth in the nation. After placing fourth in regionals in November and fifth in state in January, cheer used their motivation from state to be successful at nationals.

The competition team is finalized during cheer tryouts and the summer camp, and they perform the same routine at each competition. After school practices make up a lot of the preparation needed before any competition. 

“Nationals was the ultimate competition, so we had to practice a lot,” senior captain Alyssa King said. “Beginning work in October and practicing it every single day was the whole year in [the] cheer [class] period, despite having pep rallies, football, volleyball, and basketball games to cheer at.” 

King commented on how the end result of their state championship affected their views for nationals. She said the team kept positive energy,  followed corrections and critiques to better perform their routine in Florida. Sophomore Kristine Kim similarly said that nationals was an opportunity to push their limits. 

“We went to nationals because our team wanted a challenge,” Kim said. “We were coming from a back to back state title and we wanted to step up our game and try something new. We’re always up to a challenge.” 

King convinced her coach to enter the competition with a friend after seeing an ad for the national competition on Instagram. King thought that with her team’s state champion title they could go far in the competition. Once they convinced Coach King, the team began fundraising. 

“We fundraised a lot [through] selling cookie dough and multiple stunt clinics for the middle school cheerleaders and we made it to Florida,” King said. “It was supposed to be a fun little thing to do in Disney World, but it ended up being an awesome memory that I’ll have for life.”

Their placement exceeded their expectations and according to King throughout the trip the Cheer team grew closer and bonded. 

“Honestly the trip was a lot of fun and I think the whole team can attest to that,” King said. “Getting to spend time together in Disney World was awesome whether it was walking around Magic Kingdom or waiting in a four hour line. We all enjoyed it very much and did not want to come home.”