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Cheer places 8th at Nationals

For the first time in school history, the varsity cheer squad competed at the national competition for the Fellowship of Christian Cheerleaders [FCC] in Orlando, Florida, on Jan. 6.

?In competition the girls did better than they?ve ever done,? Katie Mendenhall, cheer coach said. ?Everyone pulled together and that was just awesome to watch.?

FCC has been running for 20 years and is the largest Christian cheer competition in the United States. Over 13 states are represented every year ranging from Washington, Minnesota and the Carolinas.

The team began training for the upcoming seasons by participating in Azusa Pacific University?s cheer camp in July, long before they even dreamed of attending Nationals.

?At the end of cheer camp we found out we were good enough to go to Nationals,? Mendenhall said. ?The girls wanted to go, but we didn?t have $10,000 funds.?

Despite the looming daunt of ten grand, the team resolved to raise the necessary funds.

?The girls were so determined that they raised every penny. They sold Gold Canyon Candles, sponsor signs, and cheer clinic. Basically those girls raised $10,000 in three months. It was really a miracle that we went.?

The girls faced a new challenge once at the competition: to perform the cleanest routines they could and pump-up the largest crowd they?ve ever cheered for before.

?The adrenaline made our first routine very nerve wracking due to the 2,000 people watching us,? Sammie Krikorian, ?08, said. ?While we were on stage performing, there was a huge screen behind us that focused solely on our squad.?

Ignoring their fluttering stomachs, the squad performed a nearly faultless routine.

?We hit each stunt and each move with accuracy,? Krikorian said. ?We performed a clean routine and even qualified for finals with it.?

At the final competition the following afternoon, the girls re-performed their routine in hopes of being placed in the top 10.

?At the finals, we competed well but the routine wasn?t as long as the day before,? Krikorian said. ?We bobbled one of the stunts but everything else went smoothly.?

Despite a rougher performance, the team received eighth place and took home a trophy.

?I was a little disappointed with our placement just because you always hope for something better,? Christie Belden, ?06, varsity captain, said. ?But we actually did amazing by making it to the finals and placing eighth.?

With Nationals behind them, the cheer squad looks for ways to improve their routine of the upcoming Clovis Pep competition on Jan. 28.

?I think we can change our stunts and tumbling and make our routine sharper,? Danielle Chidester, ?07, said. ?The teams we were up against had way more difficult stunts than we did and they were absolutely amazing. So we are making minor changes to improve our own routine.?

While Mendenhall is proud of the girls? performance and efforts, much of her gratitude extends to parent support as well.

?I have received so much parent support. Out of 13 girls, nine parents came. That kind of support is amazing.?

For those who would like photographs of the event, go online to www.lostvalleyphoto.com/fccorlando.asp or call 479-967-6919.

For more information on the FCC, go online to www.cheerfcc.org.

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