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Cheer takes on Nationals for the first time

photo used with permission by Lauren Lamar
Before their competition, the cheerleading team pose near the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex. The Falcons competed at their first-ever National competition on Feb. 10.

On Feb. 8, the cheer team went to Nationals for the first time in program history. The team went to Disney World in Orlando, Florida to compete against other high school teams in the Large Varsity Non-tumbling Gameday category from all around the country and ended up placing 19th in their division. Following Nationals, the team competed at State on Feb. 24, in Springfield, MO placing fourth. 

Junior Claire Doyle said she thought the trip to Nationals would be more entertaining rather than the feeling of a lot of pressure most of the time. 

“I was expecting the trip to be somewhat relaxing but the whole time it was very rushed and kind of stressful, especially the day of the competition,” Doyle said. 

On the contrary, senior Isabella Barbieri said the competition was a bit worrisome, but in the end, it was thrilling. 

“It was super exciting. I was really looking forward to it. I think it was a lot of fun. It was definitely a new experience so it was a little stressful, but other than that it was a good time,” Barbieri said. 

Barbieri also said the team had an impressive performance for it being their first time in the new setting.

“I feel like we did really good for our first time at Nationals. I feel like we really did our best and tried our hardest, so I’m really proud of our team,” Barbieri said. 

Freshman Katelyn Hutzler said during their time off from practicing or performing, they got to spend their days at the parks or hanging out around the pool. 

“A lot of us spent most time in the parks, going on rides and eating Disney food. If we were not at the parks then we were swimming in the pool or sitting in the sitting area talking,” Hutzler said. 

Assistant coach Lauren Lamar said now that the team has had the experience and knows what to prepare for in the coming years, they can work on ways to improve.

“Now that we have a better feel for what to expect, we can take that knowledge and use it for the next routine. We were given judges’ scores and comments that we will use to keep making our routine better,” Lamar said. 

After the team’s performance at Nationals, they had two weeks to work on the critiques they received and fully prepare for the State competition. 

Sophomore Josie Ventimiglia said she thinks that Nationals helped prepare the team for what the competition atmosphere would be like.

¨I feel like Nationals showed us just how competitive it is and prepared us for what we need to do differently next time we compete,¨ Ventimiglia said. 

Ventimiglia said the team would go full-out at their practices to get the feel of how they would perform at State. 

¨As a team, we knew that how we practiced was how we performed so every time we practiced, we made sure to act like we were performing,¨ Ventimiglia said. 

Senior Lena Davis said the team placed top five and performed in multiple sections in the game-day cheer bracket. 

¨Overall we placed 4th. We performed in three different categories: regular cheer which we got 4th in, band chant we got 2nd, and fight song we got 4th,¨ Davis said. 

Coach Michelle Bunyard said the team performed really well, taking the criticism from Nationals and applying it to their routine at state against other teams in the Class 4 division.

¨Overall, I think the team performed great.  It really helped competing at Nationals the week before and getting some good feedback.  The Game Day category is still relatively new to us, so we are still learning about the ’little things’ that end up making a big difference,¨ Bunyard said. 

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About the Contributor
Brice Davis, Of The Talon staff
Class of 2025 I do cheer My favorite song is Ivy by Frank Ocean

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