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Cheerleaders set for national stage
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Jacob Dodd photos WCHS cheerleaders pictured, front row, from left, are Gracie Cowan, Alexis Oliver, Megan Davenport, Heidy-Lin Teeters, and Kassidy Byars. Middle row, Koley Campbell, Zoye Henry, Kelcie Crouch, Julya West, Kensley Whiteaker, and Kenzie Walker. Back row, Gabby Jones, Ellie Noblin, Araya Buchanan, Emily Hoch, Selena Glenn, and Deryn Allen.

The WCHS football cheerleaders and the Super Bowl winning Eagles have something in common. They’re both going to Disney World.

The local cheerleaders arrived in Orlando Friday in preparation for the Universal Cheerleader Association (UCA) national competition being held Saturday and Sunday. The WCHS cheerleaders were slated to be one of 44 teams competing for the medium varsity division 1 title at the ESPN Wide World of Sports at Disney World.

“Last April, we sat down as a squad and made a plan for this year. Our goal was to get a bid to nationals,” said coach Stacey Elam. “We earned two. The girls put in a lot of hours and hard work to be prepared for this intense weekend of competition.

“I’m so proud of how hard these girls have been working and I know they are going to go out on the competition floor and do their very best.”

The cheerleaders took part in the prelims Saturday morning, which was the first hurdle to reach Saturday night’s semifinals. Results from the early period were unavailable at press time. The finals are set for Sunday.

Prep work for this weekend started last July. The WCHS cheerleaders learned their competition routine at Premier Athletics in Nashville. It’s been drilled and worked on 4-5 days a week for the last several months, with hopes practice will make perfect at Disney World.

The team includes seniors Gabby Jones and Selena Glenn, along with Deryn Allen, Araya Buchanan, Kassidy Byars, Koley Campbell, Gracie Cowan, Kelcie Crouch, Megan Davenport, Zoye Henry, Emily Hoch, Ellie Noblin, Alexis Oliver, Heidy-Lin Teeters, Kenzie Walker, Julya West and Kensley Whiteaker.

Both seniors were excited to be leading their team in Orlando.

“I love competing and I’m very excited to be at nationals,” said Glenn. “We have worked so hard on this journey and I have faith in our team that we are going to do great.”

Jones agreed.

“We have developed a strong bond over the year and I know we’ll do well when we hit the mat,” said Jones. "This is my first year at UCA and I’m excited to perform.”

Results can be tracked at https://uca.varsity.com/Competitions/National-HS-Cheerleading-Championship.