In December, the Red Lion Competitive Cheer Squad made their dream come true by receiving a bid to nationals at Disney World in Orlando, Florida.
They competed with schools from all over the US for the grand, national title at Walt Disney World Theme Park.
“The entire theme of our season has been about taking it to the next level, we were competitive at states, regionals, and now we’re ready for nationals,” cheer coach Ashleigh Reinert said.
The Squad left for Florida early morning on Feb 5, then headed to the All Star Sports Resort in Disney the next day for practices in preparation for performing on Saturday in front of thousands.
Senior Bradley Irizarry says, “At first we were really nervous and had no idea what to expect. It was really overwhelming but we knew we had to stay focused.”
Junior Mariah Linden said, “We all tried to stay positive, we were all really excited but so nervous.”
Out of fifty teams in their coed division, Red Lion placed 11th in the nation.
Coach Reinert said, “They kept their cool and just performed and did a great job. What’s so great about competition is that it’s just two minutes and thirty seconds of giving everything you’ve got. No timeouts, no substitutions, no redos.”
Irizarry says, “I’m so proud of what we earned. 11th in the nation is amazing, and the score we got was our personal best.”
Senior Emily Hylind said, “11th is awesome but it’s so much more than that. We had to beat teams to get to nationals too, and we worked so hard.”
Overall, the squad was very happy with the way their routine was performed.
Senior Johnnie Tamny said, “It was the best we’ve ever performed and everyone definitely tried their hardest.”
Linden also said, “Everyone was so excited to be at nationals. It was our last competition so everyone put everything they had into the routine.”
A lot of preparation and dedication was needed to not only receive the bid to nationals, but to improve their routine in order to receive this score against the coed teams competing in Florida.
“We didn’t know this when we started, but UCA has very strict guidelines on guy to girl ratio. If you have eight guys then you can’t have over thirty people--we had thirty-four people. We unfortunately had to drop down four people in order to compete, which was awful to do,” Reinert said.
The squad also made changes to different parts of their routine.
“We changed the opening tumbling so we’d have more group tumbling and standing tumbling, we also changed the ending pyramid to be more clean and ‘showy’. However, we kept all the coed stunts so we could still get a lot of points.”
Coach Reinert finished off by saying, “I am so proud of this team. Honestly, making it to this level was a huge accomplishment. We were hoping for a great performance and that’s exactly what we got. Their whole goal was to take Red Lion Cheerleading to the next level- and that’s exactly what they did.”