The North Middlesex Patriots qualified to attend the world’s largest cheer competition in Orlando, Fla.
“Our girls have worked so hard to get this far and are very motivated to bring the national title home to North Middlesex,” exclaimed Dawn Priest, head coach of the Patriots in the weeks before the girls left. The squad, comprised of six girls ages 14 and 15, were to compete in the Division 15 small red bracket.
“Only the top 1 percent of teams nationwide have won a spot to compete for the national crown in the cheer, dance, game-time and step categories, so just being in Orlando is a huge achievement,” explained Jessica Abramovich, executive director of AYF/AYC.
Along with the competition at the Silver Spurs Arena on Saturday, Dec. 10, the young athletes had a “spirit” party, where teams shared ideas on everything from backflips to hair bows, and will even get to spend a “private” evening at Universal Studios, which will be open just for the AYF/AYC family.
“It’s no surprise that cheer is such a fast-growing sport, as it challenges girls to improve their strength, flexibility and balance, and is as physically demanding for beginners as it is for experts,” said Priest. “Perhaps even more importantly, it gives them a chance to experience teamwork at its best, something that is often lacking when we think of girls and athletics.” This is our inaugural season of our cheer program, and, in this first season, the group has made the national finals.
An exciting “first” this year were exhibitions from the nascent “Contenders” division, comprised of girls with special physical/emotional needs. And the championships was to have a very special ending this year. “All competitors will be taught a new cheer by veteran professional cheerleaders, and will perform it when we announce the winner of the Kraft Foods Huddle to Fight Hunger “Giving Back League of the Year” award,” explains Abramovich. “It will be the first time ever that all of our competitors have the chance to cheer together.”
Kraft Foods and their family of iconic bands, and AYF, entered in The Huddle to Fight Hunger campaign to help tackle our nation’s acute huger problem. So far, AYF/AYC members have collected several tons of food, and in return for “like” clicks on Facebook, Kraft will donate up to 25 million meals to local Feeding America food banks.
“This is the largest hunger-relief effort of its kind,” said Abramovich. As a reward to the AYF/AYC community, Kraft will be providing snacks throughout the tournaments.
For more information on AYF/AYC national championships, go to www.ayfchampionships.com.