The Deer Park Cheerleading squad recently competed in the 2018 National Cheer Association championship. They brought home 1st place and were crowned the NCA champions in Dallas, Texas on January 26th.
“In August, we finalized the team, and began the process of choreographing the routine,” Cheerleading Instructor Courtney Mcglynn said.
Preparations for Nationals is a long process that requires practice, dedication, and hard work. The Deer cheer squad started practice in the summer of 2017 and worked towards the competition. They held two practices a week to work on certain dances that they could possibly use in their routine for the judges. Some days the cheer team would practice their dance routine 5 times which may not seem like much, but when one routine itself can be long and exhausting, it takes a toll. To get into a groove for performing on the big stage in front of hard judges in Dallas, they performed at numerous smaller showcases as a method to build their confidence for the NCA title.
“Most people outside of the cheerleading world do not understand how big of a deal it is to win at NCA Nationals,” Mcglynn said.
In order to qualify for the big dance, they must earn a bid, a qualification stating they are ready for Nationals. At the camp, there are certain requirements they have to meet. At the competition, they are judged by NCA judges and there 10 areas of skill that are worth up to 10 points each which add up to 100 points total. They must follow the rules and regulations set by the NCA, there are different divisions and each division holds its own rules that say what they can and cannot perform. If they happen to perform something explicitly restricted it automatically results in a point deduction. Some of these girls have been performing for years and have never won a major event like this and there are only a handful of certain athletes to say that they have accomplished this. So winning this means more to them because they have worked years for it. This team consisted of 29 members, 28 cheerleaders and one mascot, eight freshmen, 15 sophomores, and six juniors.
“Within the DPHS Cheer program, the cheerleaders/mascot can receive up to a $1000 scholarship. If they are wanting to cheer in college, there are many universities who offer some sort of scholarships for cheerleaders,” Mcglynn said.
With all of their hard work and dedication, winning the Nationals championship proved all of the summer practices and extra hours paid off. The Deer squad left all they had on the mat and did not come up short.