The Path To Nationals


After an undefeated season for Varsity Cheer last year, taking first in CAA State for both the performance cheer division, five-man stunt,  as well as tumbling; the team is wanting to take this season a step farther by going to USA Nationals at Disneyland in California. While taking first again at State is also a goal for this season, it would mean a lot to the team to advance beyond state. The team will have the opportunity to compete at two regional competitions that will lead to them qualifying for Nationals, one on Nov. 19 and the other on Dec. 10. Although the cheer team has won many competitions before these two competitions are the only opportunity to qualify for Nationals. Cheer does not have to win first place to qualify, but they do need to place in the top six of their division, according to Phoenix Hunt, head coach. Some of the categories that the team is judged on are stunting, technique, difficulty, tumbling and pyramid.  The team will compete against 11 other teams at the Nov. 19 competition.

Hunt shared what the team is doing in order to prepare to earn a spot at the National competition.

We are preparing for Nationals through hard work, discipline and dedication,”  Hunt said.

Cassidy Shaffer is a senior on the cheer team. She has been on the team for four years and is one of the former captains. 

Shaffer shared how the team is preparing to make it to Nationals.

“In practice we are trying to work on finalizing stunts such as doing lib extensions (A stunt where the flyer is being held above the bases head by one leg) and doing some type of inverted stunts and working on pyramid,” Shaffer said.

These are examples of stunts that can be done in a cheer routine. Stunts are when the bases are holding or tossing another cheerleader in the air and the level of difficulty can be adjusted to earn the team more points. 

“There is a lot that goes into it that we are trying to do to qualify for Nationals,” Shaffer said.

Hunt shared about what it would mean to her for her team to make it to Nationals.

“It would mean a lot for our team to make it to Nationals. They would be the first team from Imagine Prep to attend Nationals which is a huge accomplishment and a memorable experience,” Hunt said.

 Junior Alex Downing has been on the team for the past four years.

“Making it to Nationals would mean everything to me, it is my dream,” Downing said. 

Nationals is such a unique experience where you get to spend time with your team and it helps bring everyone together. Nationals is also so much more difficult than many school cheer competitions. Everything about it is an incredible experience that everyone wants to be a part of.

“I am fairly confident our team will make it with the right motivation. We are trying to finalize a routine which is difficult. So with the right motivation it will be more helpful for everyone to prepare. I do think we can make it to Nationals if we set our minds to it,” Shaffer said.

 All the team agrees that accomplishing this goal would be an amazing opportunity and the team would get to enjoy traveling together and experiencing this event as both friends and teammates.