The Canyon Lake Middle School competition cheer team competed in the USA Jr. Spirit Nationals competition on Feb. 25 at the Anaheim Convention Center where the team won the Junior Show Cheer Medium Novice division.
The team spent three days at the convention center with a full competition schedule on Sunday. One of the four CLMS stunt groups competing in the Junior High Stunt division placed third overall.
Coaches Kendall and Tammy Howard said they couldn’t be more proud of the team. “All the stunt groups performed flawlessly in a tough category against 13 middle school stunt groups,” said Tammy. The 3rd place stunt group, Kaley Pelton, Rula Katsouridis, Mariah Morris and Brooklyn Smith, received medals and a trophy.
After the stunt performances, the team competed in preliminaries. They placed first and earned a spot in the finals. The girls performed a flawless routine in the finals, which earned them the title of USA Jr. National Champions in the Medium Show Cheer division. The team received gold medals, championship backpacks, trophy and banner.
The team celebrated their victory with a dinner at the Rain Forest Cafe in Downtown Disney and a trip to Disneyland the following day.
“This group of girls is so dedicated. Most of the team is involved in outside activities, which left us practicing on Sunday evenings and sometimes Wednesdays and Fridays after school,” said Tammy. “They worked so hard to achieve their goals. We had a few obstacles along the way but the girls persevered and we ended up with the best group ever.” She added, “We have been trying for so long to win the group title and we finally did. It’s an awesome feeling to know you are national champions.”
The CLMS competition cheer team is made up of the following students: Kolena Apana, Allie Brockie (captain), Lacey Castillo, Skyler Fullerton, Brooke Helbock, Kylie Hill (captain), Rula Katsouridis, Zoe Kays, Sydney Manning, Taylor Martin, Mariah Morris, Kaley Pelton, Kailani Rjiejahh, Isabella Roe, Brooklyn Smith, Riley Smith, Katelynn Stout, Isabella Villarreal and Julia Zitzke.