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DPHS cheerleaders win national title

Written by Emily N. Wolfe. Posted in Schools

National Cheerleaders AssociationIN SCHOOLS
The Deer Park High School cheerleading team earned its first-ever national championship at the recent NCA competition in Dallas. The team, comprised of 29 members, took the title of Novice Large High School champions from the National Cheerleading Association.

Cheer Champs 3The DPHS cheerleading team reacts after it won its first ever national championship. The team earned the Novice Large High School title at the recent National Cheerleading Association's championships in Dallas. Photo provided by DPHS Cheer.Deer Park High School’s cheerleading team is the National Cheerleading Association’s Novice Large High School National Champions. Throughout a two-day competition in Dallas, the team competed against six other teams in the country for the title and prestige.

Twenty-nine students from the varsity, junior varsity and freshman cheerleading teams create the competition team. The head competition coach is the Freshman Cheerleading coach Courtney McGlynn.

For a team to qualify as a Novice Large High School the team must have 21-30 members on the squad and their skills used have to come from the Novice list.

“Each division has its own set rules and restrictions on what can and cannot be performed on the mat,” McGlynn said. “When you perform a skill outside of your restrictions, it results in a legality deduction.”

Learning the choreography for the winning routine began in August, which meant the training began in the summer under McGlynn’s leadership.

“McGlynn took the lead this year in competition and she began forming our team in the summer,” said fellow coach Leandra Davidson. “We knew this was the best year for this new adventure and we gave her the freedom to run with it and make it her own.”

Although the squad did not have a finalized routine, the cheerleaders worked on possible skills.

“We had two practices a week where we worked on skills that could potentially be in our routine,” McGlynn said. “In August, we finalized the team, and began the process of choreographing the routine.”

The competition took place over two days with the preliminary performance occurring on the first day and the final performance on the following day. At the national level, only six teams throughout the nation competed in the preliminaries and the final.

“After our performance the first day, we went through bits and pieces of the routine that needed a few more touch ups, or cleaning, for the next day’s final performance,” Davidson said. “Our performance was relatively early, so we met at the convention center around 7:45 a.m., waited for our turn to warm up our material, and then it was performance time.”

However getting ready means early rises and helping each other finish the look. According to Davidson, the look includes makeup, eyelashes, and “the biggest hair possible.”

“On the day of competition, many girls were up as early as 3:45 a.m.,” Davidson said. “Many of the girls end up helping each other out because of course, not everyone is good at doing this themselves.”

Even though this win is Deer Park High School’s first national cheerleading title, it also allowed for some of the students to see one of their dreams achieved.

"Winning nationals for not only my team, but my coach and school, and making history for the cheer program makes me proud to call myself a Deer Park cheerleader,” junior Leann Scott said.

“I got to fulfill my dream of becoming a NCA national champion.”

While a national title is “an emotional experience” for the coaches, McGlynn said the win was special to the members of the team.

“Winning NCA truly made the work worth it. The feeling when they called Deer Park as first place national champions is indescribable,” sophomore Mariah Olivares said. “Tears were shed, hugs were given and I’m so glad that I was able to experience my first win with 29 of my best friends and all of my amazing coaches.”

While a national win is a reflection of the squad and the coaches, for some cheerleaders, such as junior Samantha Gaspard, the highlight of the experience was the comradery between the members.

"Words can't even describe how wonderful winning nationals was,” she said, “but the best part was (winning) with my cheer family.”