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Cheer qualifies for USA Nationals

With a gym full of shouting people, a nervous FC varsity cheer squad took the floor beginning with “Go Eagles!” to calm their spirits and launched into their nearly perfect routine.

The cheerleaders traveled to Orange Lutheran High School to compete in front of over 90 schools on Jan. 20. To qualify for USA (United Spirit Association) Nationals the cheerleaders needed to score at least an 80 out of 100 points. They went above and beyond with judges? scores of 85, 87 and 92.

“USA is the largest secular cheerleading organization on the West Coast,” Katie Mendenhall, cheer coach, said. “It is also the largest competition these girls have ever seen so far this year. It was a different world for these girls.”

It has been eight years since the FC cheer squad has appeared at USA Nationals. In January 2007, the cheer team qualified to go but instead went to FCC (Fellowship of Christian Cheerleaders) in Orlando, FL, placing 7th.

?I was overcome with anxiousness, excitement and enthusiasm as I walked into the gym,? Sammy Krikorian, ?08, said. ?As we ended our routine, we ran off the floor with cheers and encouraging words from the crowd. We ran off with such glee knowing we hit it on the spot.?

Now the cheer squad will undergo even more rigorous practices to prove their talent in front of the judges at the USA Nationals in Anaheim on March 6-9. The competition begins March 7 at the Anaheim Convention Center from 8 A.M.?7 P.M. If they qualify for finals, they will perform again on Sun. between 8 A.M.?7 P.M.

?We did very good for performing our routine for the first time ever,? Taryn Brown, ?08, said. ?We had a few wobbles here and there but we didn?t drop any stunts. For Nationals we need to make sure out stunts are solid. Our goal for this competition was to get a bid to Nationals and that is what we achieved.?

The cheerleaders? performance was two minutes long in the Performance Cheer category. This type of performance focuses on stunts, jumps, motions and voice projection. In the past the cheerleaders were in the Show Cheer group, which is only music; this year they decided to highlight their strengths with stunts.

?It has taken a little time for this team to figure out who they are,? Mendenhall said, ?but after their competition on Jan. 20 not only do they know who they are but so does the rest of Southern California. I have always said that this is a very talented group of girls and this is only the beginning. God has great things in store for them; I just know it!?

Mendenhall will also handing out her own awards to the girls on March 10 for their FC cheer awards/memory night at 7 P.M.

Those who want to see these girls in action, varsity will be competing in the Clovis Pep Classic on Jan. 26 at Clovis High School at 1:30 P.M. and junior varsity at 1:40 P.M. with awards at 4:40 P.M.

For those interested in more photos, check out Cheerleaders everywhere in the photos section.

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