Cheer Qualifies for Nationals


Some of the girls at Regionals last weekend. Photo courtesy of Mya Casey.

Last weekend, ACP’s cheer, game day squad, and stunt group all competed at Estrella Foothills High School in the USA Regional competition. Here Spiritline, split into four different groups, competed to qualify for the USA Nationals in February, held in Anaheim, California. Pom placed 5th and narrowly missed qualifying for Nationals, while Varsity Show Cheer placed 3rd and qualified. The Game Day Squad qualified for Nationals after competing in Situational Sideline and placing 1st. However, most astonishing of all, the All-Girl Stunt group qualified for Nationals for the first time in ACP history. The spectacular girls who make up the team are Brennan Caldwell, Mya Casey, Zoe Felbein, Lexi Fox, and Paola Rodriguez.

Mya Casey, one of the five, is a junior at Erie. In addition to being on the cheer team for two years now, where commitment and time play a huge factor in succeeding, Mya is also on the school swim team and triumphantly balances out her schoolwork with her extracurriculars. When I asked her for an interview, she happily obliged:

All the girls who are a part of Varsity Show Cheer gathered in for a picture while at Regionals. Photo courtesy of Mya Casey.

Q: Can you tell me more about what the All-Girl Stunt group does?

A: All-girl stunting is pretty self-explanatory. We create a stunt sequence and perform it in front of the judge. Our allotted time is one minute, so we try to hit every stunt so that we can optimize the amount of points we receive.

Q: What’s the difference between Game Day, All Girl Stunt, Pom, and Varsity Show Cheer?

A: Game Day performs a cheer or chant based on crowd involvement. It’s very simple stuff and they use lots of props (megaphones, signs, poms, etc.), while All-Girl Stunt has only five people involved and details a very short performance (one minute as opposed to two or three). They only perform stunts- no jumps or dance. Pom, on the other hand, is dancing only. It involves leaps, jumps, a kick line, and no stunting. Finally, Varsity Show Cheer consists of the entire varsity team. There’s a larger performance time and it involves EVERYTHING-jumps, dance, elite stunt sequence, multiple stunt pyramids, and a cheer.

Q: What was the competition like? How does it all work?

A:  The competition is always very long. At this particular one, lots of teams across Arizona came, so we were there the entire day, unfortunately. It takes place in a gym, so the audience can sit in the bleaches and watch all the teams on the mats. After each category goes ahead and performs, there’s an awards ceremony which announces how the team placed. Most of the time though, the schools don’t really “compete against each other”. The goal is just to score as many points as we can so we can qualify for Nationals, which we did.

The All-Girl Stunt Group: from left to right, Lexi Fox, Paola Rodriguez, Zoe Felbein, Brennan Caldwell, and Mya Casey. Photo courtesy of Mya Casey.

Q: How often does cheer practice? Is there anything special you do to prep for a game or competition?

A: Cheer practices every day before school. To prepare for a comp, we mostly just run through all the routines and clean up the rough parts. We don’t really have any traditions or anything.

Q: Were you at regionals last year?

A: Yes, I was at Regionals last year. Since it was one of my first ever competitions, I was super nervous, but it went alright.

Q: What do you enjoy the most about it?

A: One of my favorite parts about cheer is seeing the progress we make throughout the year. There’s a big difference from the beginning of the year all the way up to Nationals in February. I also just love how close we all are and how much fun we have at practice.

Thank you to Mya for taking the time to teach us a little about cheer and everything that goes along with it. Congrats to all the girls who competed in the Regional competition! Way to go, Knights!