Music blares from the speakers. The crowd watches in awe. Voices rise, crescendoing as time stills, until only one thing, remains: the chants that can only be found at nightly football games, basketball courts, and MN pep rallies. But, that’s about to change.
This year, after eight years of being unable to compete, the varsity cheer team has qualified to compete at the National High School Cheerleading Championship in Orlando, Florida from Feb. 8-12.
“The dynamic of our team is what has allowed for so much success in this season,” Head Cheer Coach Haley Ryan said.
The team, by becoming ‘tumbling all-inclusive’, has been forced to work harder, step out of their comfort zones, and learn new skills in order to be competitive.
“It takes a special group of girls to change the trajectory of a program and each of them
has what it takes. It is not an easy task, but each of them has risen to the challenge,” Ryan said.
The team will be competing in two divisions: tumbling and game-day. Their routines consist of everything from stunts and tumbling to sideline cheers. The team hopes to place in the top five in both divisions.
The team practices on Mondays and Thursdays at six A.M. and has tumbling practices at a local tumbling gym on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons.
“Each girl is driven toward a common goal and they keep that in the back of their mind at every practice. They work well together, support one another, and are focused,” Ryan said.
The qualification also boosted team morale.
“It’s unbelievable. We didn’t expect to get a bid to go to nationals, and it’s given us a lot of
confidence,” senior varsity cheerleader Yvonne Jiang said.
Jiang, a first-year competitor, earned her place as a tumbler on the varsity team as a senior. Her excitement is great, but for others like senior Brittany Bradfield, it’s tangible.
“Qualifying for nationals has made us more excited to put in hard work. It puts some well-warranted pressure on us to leave our mark on MNVC,” Bradfield said.
While the competitors are obviously excited to be competing at such a prestigious tournament, they hope to succeed competitively, while growing stronger as a team.
“I’m looking forward to performing our tumbling routine and getting a chance to showcase what we’ve been working on. But I’m just as excited to travel, meet new people, and just perform with my team,” Jiang said.
The team is also touring Walt Disney World for a portion of the trip, for which they couldn’t be more thrilled.
“I wouldn’t want to take on this experience with any other group of girls. We have gotten super close considering all the time we spend together at practices, games, and other activities,” Bradfield said.
The cheer team has always been a center of talent, with two state wins in the past four years alone, but, this year, talent will meet tradition as they, once again, become one of the best in the country.