Something to cheer for

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photo by Jake Burton

The cheer-leading team with their trophy

There were two goals going into this season: win states and finish at least seventh at nationals. After finishing as runner ups in state and seventh in nationals last year, the girls cheer team was just looking to show improvement.
Not only did they walk away from Silver Spurs Arena with the title of state champions, but also earned the titles of both world champions and national champions. Only seven days later, the varsity girls finished in first place at regionals to qualify for nationals. They then finished first again at the state competition on Jan. 31 and moved on to win both the national and world competition a week later, on Feb 9, at the Disney’s Wide World of Sports. The competition was televised nationally on ESPN the next day.
Varsity went up against 31 other squads for the national title, and 10 other squads for the world championship, and still managed to come away victorious both times.
“If someone would have said a week before [the competition] that we were going to win nationals, no one would ever believe it, because that’s impossible. You just don’t win. Some random team from Oviedo, Florida doesn’t just come in and win nationals, and we overcame that and did it,” junior Alexis George said.
Last year, the girls varsity team was runner up to the state title, and finished seventh in the nation. The year before that, they ended up in third place for states.
“I think this team honestly had the best bond than any other team before. There’s not one person on the team that doesn’t get along… In previous years, we wanted it, but we didn’t realize how hard we had to work for it, and this year we were willing to push and try a lot harder,” senior and team captain Anjelique. Pertuz said.
Varsity’s biggest roadblock in the past has been Winter Park High School, but this year Winter Park moved down to a smaller division, leaving Hagerty with an easier path at the state competition.
“We knew that the door was wide open because we’ve always been just barely behind them. Now that they’re out of our division we had a better chance. It didn’t make us work harder, but at the same time I feel like even if they were in our division or if they weren’t, we wanted to win states, no matter how hard we had to work,” Pertuz said.
The girls’ biggest challenge they will have to face next year is the fact that half of the team will be graduating.
During this May, 13 of the 26 current varsity cheerleaders will be graduating, which means there will be a lot of fresh faces on the squad next year.
“If you’re on JV, you want to move up to varsity next year, and you want to win too. The seniors have helped show the JV girls what it’s like to work hard,” coach Kim Hackman said.
But this might not be as hard as it sounds. JV experienced historic success as well this season too. They went to nationals with varsity for the first time in school history, and finished in 10th place overall.
“The two teams worked hard to come together and make it a successful season and represent Hagerty on the national level,” senior Lauren Hayden said.

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