Cheerleading squad tumbles into 5th place at Disney competition


Carsten Savage


The competition cheerleading team placed fifth at Nationals at Walt Disney’s ESPN Sports Arena on Saturday.

The team flew down to Orlando for the event, spending the weekend at the Sports Arena and at various venues in the Orlando area.

“It was fun,” senior Rachel Shoemaker said. “The best part was when we dressed up and went to downtown Disney and saw a concert and sang with the strolling piano.”

Junior Ava Kunar, a member of the competition team, said that her favorite part of the trip was “seeing all the other teams perform.”

Although the girls did not win the competition, they beat four other teams.

Coach Julie Hardesty had high expectations for the team going into the competition.

“I expect them to be flawless and place in the top three because they are so good,” Hardesty said. 

Shoemaker said that the team “did really well compared to the amount of talent the other teams had.”

“It was definitely our best performance yet,” she stated.

According to Kunar, the team “expected to do better.” The Blue Aces have never participated in this particular event before, however, and did not know exactly what to expect.

“We went in blindly,” Kunar said.

Nevertheless, the team was very excited this year because they were expected to place very high. The team has a higher skill level than the previous teams that have participated in the Disney competition.

“They have a full squad standing tuck, and their tumbling skills are advanced,” said Hardesty.

Before Nationals, the girls had competed and won at Ohio State, Ohio Athletic Conference (OAC) and AmeriCheer.

The team started preparing in the summer and then learned their routine in September, continuing to add improvements here and there.

After flying into Disney last Friday night, the girls enjoyed a night swim before waking up early the next day for practice.

On the second day after an early morning practice, the girls went for another swim and headed to the Magic Kingdom for team bonding. The third day was a pool day with a team dinner afterwards.

The fourth day was competition day. Their last day in Disney was another pool day, and then they hopped on the plane and came home.

After the girls get back from Nationals, they will compete at the Ohio Association of Secondary School Administrators competition on March 5 at St. John’s Arena at Ohio State. Their season will be over after that, and they will be looking to build their team for next year.

Hardesty has already been thinking about next year’s squad. She said that she will hold tryouts differently next year so that the girls trying out will have a better idea about “what the expectations are” for competition cheering.

Next year, Kunar hopes that the team will similar success.

“Goals for next year are to win states,” she said.