Many people dream of winning a national championship as it’s often the highest level of achievement that a team could accomplish. This ranges from semi-pro to pro-level competitors in any field. However, not many people can reach that level. On the other hand, our very own Strawberry Crest Cheer team reached that goal this past February 8th, 2020. Their hard work paid off at the highest level in accomplishing this tough task.
The journey for nearly all cheerleaders starts in their freshman year. In an interview with 11th-grade cheerleader Heather Heinze, I wondered what her inspiration for joining cheer was in freshmen year. She says “I had already been cheering my whole life, it looked really fun, and I wanted to be a part of that legacy.” The reputation of the Crest Cheer team was already known to her as she had heard in middle school that the team had won three state championships in a row already. This encouraged her to join in freshmen year where the team went on to win two more state championships in 2018 and 2019. Coming off the 2019 season, the team was even more determined and stood resolute in the face of adversity.
When asked about the start of preparations for the season, Heather responded with “We started preparing at the beginning of the summer.” This continued practice throughout the summer led to the team being extremely well prepared. In the words of Heinze, “Our main goal, once we realized the amount of talent we had on our team, was to reach for the highest place possible for nationals.” However, the road to the nationals did not come completely easily.
The first competition of the season was surprisingly a loss for the team. When asked about why the team lost, Heinze responded with “We went into the competition super confident because we knew how good we were, but got too comfortable and messed up.” On the other hand, this loss did not come without a lesson that was quickly learned. She continued with, “We lost, but it taught all of us a lesson to never get comfortable with our skills and after that we were undefeated.” The rest of the journey to the nationals went fairly easy for the team resulting in the team’s sixth straight state title.
Right before a big event, most people feel nervous about the butterflies in the stomach effect. This was not the case for the Crest cheer team as they had experienced on the big stage. According to Heather Heinze, “We were all feeling really confident and ready to compete. We definitely had nerves but I think we were all more excited than anything.” After performing extremely well in the nationals, the Strawberry Crest Cheer team became the school’s first-ever UCA Nationals Champions.
I asked about what concepts need to be most understood by anyone wishing to join the Crest cheer team in the future. Heather replied, “They would have to understand that it’s a full commitment. You have to commit your mind, your heart, and your body to the sport because that the only way we can be as good as we are.” The Crest cheer team will look to win another national championship this upcoming year and as always GO CHARGERS!