Cheer teams take on the challenge


photo by Rachelle English

Freshman Skylar Droste, senior Hailey Landon and freshman Jordyn Storti cheer at the Husky Cheer Challenge. They are a part of the junior varsity team that placed third.

As each cheerleader passes from corner to corner, the cheers grow louder and louder. On Jan. 7, the varsity cheer team, as well as the junior varsity competition team and the junior varsity game day team competed in the Husky Cheer Challenge along with 83 other local/school Florida teams.

The varsity and junior varsity competition teams placed first in their divisions while the junior varsity game day team placed third in theirs. In preparation for the event, the team had a practice over the winter break and frequent practices the week before the challenge to get the best version of their performance they thought possible. 

“We have three to five hour choreography sessions, and then it continues to evolve every competition that we do,” junior varsity game day coach Patricia Pernal said.

The junior varsity game day team was the first to go at 9:15 a.m. and while being the first team was nerve wracking, they pushed through to deliver the best performance they could. Performing “Seven Nation Army,” the team was cheered on by all members of the cheer organization and their coach. 

“I [hoped] that they [would] do their very best and leave it all on the floor,” Pernal said.

Three hours after their performance, the awards ceremony was held. The team won the third place banner in the junior varsity non-tumbling division.

“There were some stunts that wouldn’t go up [and] some of us had a mental block, but I feel like we all worked together to get through it all and get where we are right now,” freshman Miriam Pierre said.

The game day team is resilient and will continue to improve upon themselves and their performance before the national competition in February.

“We’ve done a lot better in the past but I know that if we work even harder, we’re going to do better at nationals,” freshman Isabella Bujaj said.

Not long after the break, a showcase of the UCF cheer team national performance began . They saw the event as an opportunity to present their routine for their national competition next week. Following soon after, the junior varsity competition team cheered, placed first in their division and received a banner.

“It was exciting to win first place. I [thought] that we worked hard to put something together in one week,” freshman Destanie Tucker said.

Toward the end of the day the varsity team grew tired from helping out with the event, but they would not let that have any effect on their performance. As they powered through their routine, the cheers from the crowd energized them.

“We went on the floor and the energy from the crowd was amazing. Everyone in the gym was cheering for us,” sophomore Lacee Ginga said.

The team did have some stunts that did not quite go as they hoped, but the difficulty of their routine is what turned things around for them and put them on top.

“We are focusing on hitting our routine [because] falling in stunts are not an option any more,” Ginga said.