Cheer Team 3rd at Nationals

Cheer Team 3rd at Nationals
Posted on 02/13/2020
The Cheer FamilyCheerleading Competes at National Championship
Veronica Slevin
Staff Writer
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The varsity cheerleading team competed at the NHSCC UCA national championships in Orlando, Florida On February 8th and 9th 2020. The competition hosted over 20,000 cheerleaders who competed in arenas at the ESPN Wide World of Sports complex.

The team earned tenth place in the Game Day competition on Friday and third place in the traditional routine on Saturday. This is a major accomplishment for CV because the team has only competed in the Game Day routine for two years, and third place is the best the team has ever placed at the national competition.

Many of the top teams do not consistently place year after year, but this was the fifth year the team has competed at NHSCC, and the team has placed in the top 10 every year.

The varsity cheer team has prepared since the end of April to be ready for the state and national championships. The team placed first in the state last month and qualified for nationals in November.

The team practiced every day after school in the fall and winter to ensure their preparedness. This team in particular was determined to drill skills and practice consistency even outside of practice.

“Throughout the season, we went to open gyms and put in work outside of school. Even after long days at school and practice, we would still give it our all at open gyms,” sophomore Emma Warner said.

Going into nationals, the team had a lot of confidence due to the amount of practice and determination they had. 

“I was very determined and focused, but I was also relaxed because I knew that this team was so prepared going into nationals” senior Lauren Cirrincione said.

“I went with full confidence, not just in my stunt group, but all stunt groups on the mat. This is the most prepared we’ve been for anything,” Warner said.

The team traveled late Wednesday night and arrived early Thursday morning so the team could practice and rest before days of competition.

“On Thursday, we had practice outside. It was almost 90 degrees and super sunny, but we had an amazing practice. After that, we went to the Magic Kingdom as a team,” junior Peyton Palmeri said.

“I felt so confident in my stunt group and my team. We executed our stunts perfectly and we had to deal with the wind during the day, so I felt that we could hit the routine in any circumstance,” senior Laicie Ray said.

Friday was the day for the Game Day routine competition. Game Day is a routine of what cheerleaders would do at a real football game. Instead of being judged on skill difficulty, Game Day focuses on entertainment level and enthusiasm from the cheerleaders. At NHSCC, the top two teams from the preliminary round of about 40 teams move directly to finals, skipping the semi-final round. For the first time ever, CV advanced straight to finals because they placed second in the preliminary round.

“I felt very confident in my team. We made history because we made it through straight to finals for the first time. That perfect performance allowed us to relax until finals, instead of practicing and competing in the semi-final round,” Palmeri said.

During the final round, the team had a major mistake which was a two-point deduction. Unfortunately, this mistake prevented the team from placing higher, but the team is very happy about a tenth place finish.

“After our finals performance, I was a little bit disappointed that we made a mistake, but I was so proud of the team, and top 10 in the nation is amazing,” Cirrincione said.

The team celebrated their tenth place finish and immediately began reviewing for the traditional routine that they competed the next day. The traditional routine is the same routine that the team competes at the state championships. The team had a mistake in the semi-final round, but managed to make it to the finals. They practiced outside to perfect the routine and make necessary changes before the final round.

In the finals, the team had a mistake, but there was no doubt that the team did the best that they could. Cheerleading is a sport where a one-second mess up can cause a large mistake, and practice cannot prevent mistakes from happening. The team was proud of the performance because it was their last time competing together and everyone put forth their best efforts.

“My stunt group fell in finals, so I was upset that we weren't able to hit the routine, because that was one of our goals,"  Ray said. "However, after I took some time to reflect and talk to some teammates, I began to feel better because I know that, at that given moment, I tried my best,”

“We were on fire, the crowd was insane, everyone was so excited and we ended with even bigger smiles on our faces then we did the first time. Even though we had a fall, we still knew that we couldn’t have done anything else,” Warner said.

The team headed to awards later Saturday night and were awarded third place. This is the highest the team has ever placed at nationals, so they were ecstatic. The hard work of the team and coaches had paid off to a top three finish. Also, CV was the only team from the Northeast in their division final, which is amazing to represent all of the region.

“We were on cloud nine when they called us as third,” Palmeri said.

“Last year, we finished ninth, so this was a huge step up for the team. I predicted that we would finish fifth, but we finished in third, which made me so happy,” Warner said.

The team is extremely proud of their accomplishments from the entire season, all culminating at the national championships. The team celebrated by going to the Disney World parks on Sunday with family and friends.

“This was the first year that I got to compete at nationals. I am so proud of the team and my stunt group,” Palmeri said.

“I had a great time and it was definitely a memorable last trip with my team. Also, this year was the first year that my family came on the trip with me, so it felt great to know that my family was cheering me on while I performed,” Ray said.

“Nationals was an absolute dream for me. Being third in the nation going up against those amazing teams is crazy,” Cirrincione said. "When I started out freshman year, we looked up to those top three teams and now we are one of them. I truly loved this team with all my heart and I am so proud of everything we have accomplished." 

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