WEST ALEXANDRIA — Twin Valley South cheerleaders competed at UCA National High School Cheerleading Championship on Sunday, Feb. 10. The team received a Superior Rating for its efforts and enjoyed some time at Walt Disney World after competing.
The National High School Cheerleading Championship (NHSCC) is the most prestigious cheerleading championship in the country. The NHSCC is held at the Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida, and nationally televised on ESPN2 and ESPNU to over 100 million homes and 32 countries nationwide each year. There were over 18,500 athletes that competed over the weekend, with 950 teams and 50,000 attendees.
On the day of the competition, Twin Valley South’s routine could be watched on varsity.com or on Facebook, where a cheer mom went “live.” There were 13 teams in the same division as the TVS Panthers.
According to Coach Chelsea Sorrell, to compete at Nationals teams first have to compete at the National Qualifier which was held at Centerville High School back in October. Teams are judged on their ability to executed that routine to it’s fullest with very little to no mistakes.
“We went to the venue the day before competition just to see the stage itself and watch other teams perform. I wanted the girls to be able to see it in person – help calm the nerves of the unknown. We continued practicing in Florida. We woke up early and went through the routine, even before bed. I think the overall feeling walking into the competition was excitement, which I wanted,” Sorrell said.
“I wanted the girls to be pumped before going out on the mat and leaving everything they had worked so hard on all year to be ‘left out on the mat.’ Myself and Coach Nicole Ehler were nervous of course, but we knew the girls would not disappoint us (which they didn’t). There were many times Nicole and I kept thinking we were dreaming – not only were we at the most magical place on earth, but we were able to pull off all the fundraising and preparation it took to pull off this trip to Nationals.”
For the team, this was a “once in a lifetime” opportunity members will never forget.
“I absolutely loved our trip to nationals! It was an awesome experience for us girls to bond and further our relationships with one another in an environment that was more relaxed and allowed us to have fun and just let loose for a bit. It also definitely strengthened my relationship with each of my coaches because we were out of the stress filled environment we had been in for a few weeks post Regionals and Spirit Day (the preparation of going to Nationals),” Senior Madison Blair said.
“Getting to watch the two coaches have fun with us while in The Happiest Place on Earth was so rewarding. I was crazy nervous and excited to finally perform and I wish things would have went more in our way because it was such a good experience. I loved being in front of a new audience and getting to experience something with my team, that not many others do. I would absolutely do it again in the future if I was able to, because of how much fun we had and how much we ended up learning, both about cheer and one another. I am thankful for the opportunity Chelsea and Nicole gave us. I know I will remember it forever.”
“Going to Nationals was a once in a lifetime opportunity for a small school like TVS. I was blessed to have the opportunity and funding to go! To me, competing meant I was representing my community. We’re the first team in school history to have gone to a National level competition. That alone was an achievement. Since it’s my senior year, I won’t be able to go back. Hopefully future squads at South can have the chance to go as well,” Senior Rylie Gearhart said. “The national competition is a totally different ball game. There are multiple arenas running multiple comps – 950 teams competed throughout the three days. You feel like you’re on a stage compared to a gym. The lights are brighter and the nerves are stronger. I wasn’t nervous until we began to warm up. You looked out and saw hundreds of unfamiliar faces.”
“Overall I loved Nationals! Competing there was absolutely amazing and I felt like it improved our squad as a whole. Performing in front of a large amount of people was an eye opening experience and I think it showed us how much spirit we really need to have. Besides comp I had a blast going to the parks and around places with all the girls. I think we really grew as a squad with each other,” Sophomore Allison Bassler said.
Sorrell added, it was important for her to make this impact in the girls lives. She hopes they remember their time fondly and that she can bring another team to Nationals in the future.
“As a coach taking the team down to Nationals, I feel extremely blessed to be a part of this memory for the girls. I had some athletes that had never flown, been to Disney, or been this far away from their parents. It gives me chills thinking that I was able to do something for these girls. Hopefully when they look back at the High School years they smile and laugh at the memories we created during this trip,” Sorrell added.
“I hope that this trip is one of their favorite memories! The girls were able to bond with their teammates which will help in the future. Hopefully they know they can depend on one other in the future. I’m so thankful for the love and support our small community of West Alexandria has shown the girls recently. Their outpouring of support is greatly appreciated!”
Reach Kelsey Kimbler at 937-683-4061 or on Twitter @KKimbler_RH