Cheerleaders place sixth at nationals

Kaitlyn Marsh

Cheerleaders that competed at nationals performed their routine at the boys basketball game Thursday evening. The girls later went on to place 6th at nationals. Photo by Parker Sutherland
For the first time in school history, the varsity cheeleaders had the opportunity to compete at nationals. The team took sixth at the Dallas, Tx., tournament Sunday.
Competition began Saturday Jan. 7 with the first round of the 2012 NCA Senior and Junior High School National Championship in the Advanced Small High School division. Their results from that performance determined a spot in the finals. At the end of the day, with a score of 78.74, the girls made the cut of the top six teams to compete in finals Sunday.
“Whenever our coach told us we were going to be competing again [on Saturday], everyone just started screaming and we were like ‘Oh, my gosh, that is so awesome,’” senior and captain Elizabeth Flanagan said. “It was just a great deal that the first time we competed at nationals, we got to compete in the finals competition, as well.”
After realizing their chances at a possible national championship were in reach, the girls had an even better performance in the finals the second day, Flanagan said. The first day, one stunt took a devastating fall, but after a chance to get over their nerves and see what the judges expected, the success of the second day’s performance gave them even more reason to believe they had a shot at placing.
When someone is dropped “you have to forget it happened and you have to just jump back in and keep going,” sophomore Kayla Cooper said. “The first day it was good, but the second day it was 10 times better. We had so much energy; our team was pinned together and it was awesome. The second day we came back and we were like, ‘O.k, we know what we need to do; we just need to do it.’”
Besides bringing home the title of top six in the nation, the girls also used the experience to bond and gain unification. Spending a week in Dallas surrounded by some of the best cheerleading teams in the nation couldn’t be regarded as all work and no play.
“It’s been really fun being in Dallas,” Flanagan said. “We got to go sightseeing a little, and we got to go to the Cowboy’s stadium and see the Dallas Cowboys cheerleader’s locker rooms, which all the girls were really excited about. It’s been a good bonding experience and a good competition.”
The team’s work for 2012 isn’t complete. The girls will finish their season cheering at basketball games and start practice again in the spring, hopeful for back-to-back state championships and possibly another trip to nationals for an even better place in 2013.
“I think the team will go far; I think we could and I think we can work our way up to that national’s title. It’s definitely a possibility,” Cooper said.  “We watched some of the performances, and we saw some skills we didn’t even know were possible to do. I think we can take this and try to do what they did to make ourselves better and move forward.”
Click here see the Bruin’s at nationals. Once at the video homepage, search “Rock Bridge High School” to see a clip of their performance in the qualifying round.  
By Kaitlyn Marsh