The Tahoma High School cheer team qualified to go to the National High School Cheerleading Championship Tournament on Feb. 10 and 11 at the ESPN Center at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida.
Their head coach, Chuck Chartrey, said to qualify the team had go to a regional tournament that took place in November 2017.
The Tahoma Cheer team has three teams made up of 60 members according to Chartrey. Varsity, junior varsity and the sparkle team (which is a team for members with special needs).
The teams are divided into three categories for competition; a varsity and junior varsity game day division and a varsity traditional team, which is the team that does stunts and other moves to music, Chartrey said.
“All three of our teams have qualified for state and all three of our teams qualified for nationals, and two of our teams are regional champions and then we’re taking two of the teams to nationals,” he said.
The varsity game day team and the varsity traditional team are the two teams going to nationals, Chartrey said.
“So what we’re doing is taking one team and competing in different categories. So they’ll be competing against different schools in different categories. There are two different championships that we can win and we will be competing against teams throughout the United States,” Chartrey said.
Members of the Tahoma cheer team who are going to nationals are overjoyed.
“It honestly means the world to me because the four years of me cheering for high school we haven’t even made it state, let alone nationals and so it’s really awesome having this senior year be an opportunity to go,” said Chloe Brown, a senior.
The moment the team found out they made it to nationals at the regional tournament, the girl’s were so ecstatic, they could barely contain themselves.
“I was so excited that moment when she (one of the judges) announced our team name, it was so amazing,” said Faith Jordan, a junior. “It is so exciting. I’m just so excited that we have this opportunity to go because we’re the only team that has been able to go to a national competition at our school, so I’m excited to represent Tahoma.”
Brown said she had the same reaction Jordan did.
“I remember I was jumping up and down, I was so excited because I had actually been there once before, but it was when I was, I think 10. So just being so excited since this is my last year of cheer, it’s really exciting,” Brown said.
Chartrey said to get the money to go to Florida for nationals, the girls had to do fundraisers and pay out of pocket to make it happen.
“For fundraisers there would be like a bear camp and local car washes and stuff like that is what helped them pay for this, but most of this was out of pocket and it ends up being about $1,100 per girl and then plus whatever food and all that, so out of pocket these girls are at about $1,500 each,” he said.
Brown said she thinks the team made it to nationals for the first time this year because of hard work and dedication.
Both Brown and Jordan are nervous, but excited to compete in nationals.
Jordan said, “I am pretty nervous, it’s going to be weird going up against completely different teams from different states.”
“I think I’m most excited for the cheering on that big stage and knowing how many amazing teams have performed there and also being able to spend this last competition with all my teammates,” Brown said.
The Bears cheer team will be competing in the state tournament this Saturday, Jan. 27 in Battle Ground, Washington.