By EMILY WALOS
What makes a champion? Is it the trophies or ribbons or medals? What about the teamwork or hours spent practicing? It’s a combination of everything and, when someone is being thrown several feet in the air, teamwork, and practice cannot be overlooked. On Feb. 22, Citrus Valley High School cheer, stunt, and song team arrived at the United Spirit Association national competition, and half of the teams left as champions on Feb. 24. This championship win meant that Varsity cheer were now back-to-back champions and that the Stunt team is now one of the best in the nation.
On Friday, the first day of the competition, Varsity and Junior Varsity cheer performed hoping to make it to finals on Saturday. Varsity was able to pull through and make it to finals where they caught the eyes of the judges, allowing them to win nationals. Junior Varsity did not make it to Saturday’s finals; however, they got the closest they had ever been.
Stunt team also competed on Friday; however, cuts and finals were both on the same day, so at 10:30 a.m. the stunt team performed and learned that they would be performing in the finals, which were in the afternoon. After finals, the girls had their dream come true. That night they slept as 1st place titleholders.
Finally, on the second day of the competition, the song team performed, making it to finals (which were on the third day). Their performance brought them all the way to 2nd overall.
This year Varsity cheer was presented with a change in coaches, allowing for new ideas, coaching styles and performing techniques to be explored. This led to the team being pushed to do their best, leading to their victory. New varsity Coach Emily Fitts has been a major part of the girls’ win, as it was her determination and faith in the team that allowed for the cheerleaders to be inspired and give a national winning show.
Through their pain, sweat and tears, Citrus Valley high school spirit leaders paved a path to victory, allowing the school to be recognized as having some of the most skillful and strong-willed teams in the nation.