Cheerleaders win UCA Small Varsity National Championship for first time

Clad+in+their+white+national+champion+jackets%2C+the+cheerleaders+parade+their+trophy+before+the+student+body+during+a+pep+rally+on+Feb.+12.+During+the+pep+rally%2C+they+also+performed+their+winning+routine+before+the+national+championship+banner+was+unveiled.
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Cheerleaders win UCA Small Varsity National Championship for first time

Clad in their white national champion jackets, the cheerleaders parade their trophy before the student body during a pep rally on Feb. 12. During the pep rally, they also performed their winning routine before the national championship banner was unveiled.

Clad in their white national champion jackets, the cheerleaders parade their trophy before the student body during a pep rally on Feb. 12. During the pep rally, they also performed their winning routine before the national championship banner was unveiled.

Samuel Colmar

Clad in their white national champion jackets, the cheerleaders parade their trophy before the student body during a pep rally on Feb. 12. During the pep rally, they also performed their winning routine before the national championship banner was unveiled.

Samuel Colmar

Samuel Colmar

Clad in their white national champion jackets, the cheerleaders parade their trophy before the student body during a pep rally on Feb. 12. During the pep rally, they also performed their winning routine before the national championship banner was unveiled.

Emma McGee, Editor in Chief

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           On Sunday Feb. 10, the Boone cheerleaders were named national champions at the UCA Small Varsity Cheerleading Championship in Orlando, Fla.

    After placing 13th in the nation at the same tournament last year, this was a major feat for the cheer team and the school.

  “Being called a national champion was a dream come true,” said junior Ashtyn Fangman, a tumbler for the team.

    According to Fangman, the team had been preparing for the national tournament since May of 2018.

   Maintaining focus and team morale for that long of a period can be a challenge, but coach Michelle Schuster had some ways to combat any disagreements in the months leading up to the competition.

“When times get tough, I have to pull them together and say it’s time to have a nice chat,” she said. Schuster is a science teacher and has been cheerleading coach for 20 years. She was a cheerleader at Boone and at Northern Kentucky University.

Schuster said that the number of related members on the team created a familial bond. The team has two sets of sisters—including a pair of twins—and a set of cousins.

To help strengthen that bond, the girls had many sleepovers and team dinners throughout the season, which created a bond the girls said was tighter than previous seasons.

“We wanted to win and we wanted to win together,” Fangman said.

The national win wasn’t entirely a surprise, however.

“I knew that if we hit our routine perfectly at nationals, we had a very good chance of winning,” Fangman said.

A routine choreographer from Memphis, Tenn. was brought in to create their national-winning routine and to help make sure it was perfectly performed.

“We told the girls all year that if they just hit the routine, they would be surprised,” Schuster said.

After their momentous win, the cheerleaders and coaches were welcomed back to Boone with an impromptu pep rally where they performed their routine.

School walls lined in paper rings, and the team’s achievement was announced several days in a row.

As the whole school looked on, the principals revealed the national-championship banner that will be displayed in the gym for years to come.

How long before they can hang another?

“We are losing three seniors [this year], but I’ve heard there is a lot of talent coming up,” Schuster said.

“I have confidence that our team will be just as legendary and carry on the legacy we made this season,” Fangman said as she looks ahead to her final season as a Rebel.

Regardless of how the cheerleaders place in coming years, their achievement this year will go down in school history.

Zoe Collins also contributed to the reporting for this story.