Pop Warner Cheerleaders Finish Fifth in the Nation


Rachel Walters

Pop Warner Cheerleaders enjoyed their time in Disney, both on and off the competition mat.

Megan Morris, Editor-in-Chief

Every year seniors anxiously wait for their class trip to Disney World. For some of them it is the only thing getting them through the long days at CHS.

Two CHS students along with ____ middle school cheerleaders were able to take a break from school and experience the magical world of Disney from December 8th-11th.

They earned this trip, however.

Senior Rachel Walters and junior Julia Birbeck helped coach the 160lb Pop Warner Cheer Squad along with fellow CHS alumni Alyssa Birbeck, Casey Hanstien and Megan Shemeley.

Rachel explained that she “started coaching last year and absolutely fell in love with the girls and wanted to return for a second year.”

The girls start their practices in the beginning of August. Besides practicing side-line cheers for football games, their main goal was learning and perfecting their competition routine which is 2:30. Granted, that doesn’t seem like a long time, but a lot can happen in those 2 minutes and 30 seconds.

A routine usually has a dance, cheer, and stunt sequence in it. For 11, 12, and 13-year olds, memorizing a routine is not always the easiest thing. But, with the four coaches be former CHS cheerleaders they received expert advice.

First, they competed in their league championship.

They qualified for the regional competition. It was here, Walters claimed, that “she had a pretty good feeling that they would be advancing to the national competition in Disney World after they performed flawlessly.”

And that’s what happened. They advanced to the national competition for the first time since 2011.

Now, they’re eyes were set on fund raising. Going to Disney is always the goal of the parents, coaches and cheerleaders, but the price isn’t. Unfortunately, Pop Warner cannot fund every team’s cost.

The girls came up with many unique fundraisers to raise money. They reached out to local restaurants such as Jersey Mike’s Subs, Milanese Pizza, and Throwbacks Bar and Grill. They also sold baked goods at the Thanksgiving Day football game and soccer tournament. Their “most successful fundraiser was a yard sale at Wood Park,” stated Walters.

Everyone put a tremendous amount of effort into raising money and lessening the cost even on short notice; the regional competition was on November 8th and the national competition was on December 8th, giving them less than a month to raise the money.

They did the best they could to raise money for the team and finally it was time to go to Disney. It was time for the girls to miss a week of school and have all their friends wish they were a cheerleader.

Rachel describes the trip to Disney World by saying “I had so much fun there, but it was a lot of work. We had practice at 9:00 AM on Tuesday [their first full day in Disney] at the ESPN Wide World or Sports. On Wednesday we had to wake up at 4:00 AM to get ready, do hair and then report back to the complex at 6:00 AM for interviews and then the competition.”

After a long day of competing and watching others compete, it was finally time for the results to be announced.

The Pirates received fifth place, making them the fifth best team in the nation in their division. That was definitely something to be proud about.

Of course when the teams go down there, it’s not all work and no play.

After the competition on Tuesday the girls were free to do whatever they wanted in Disney World, which leaves them with a lot of options.