This year, the format changed from competing in divisions 1-6 as other sports do.
“It’s based on how many members you have on your team,” said sponsor Lori Kilgore.
The team competed in small team, non-tumbling division, putting their routine and stunts on the mat along with 21 other teams.
After their first program, the field narrowed to 12 and Houston was ranked fourth. But that’s when the day got longer and more tiring.
The team performed their first routine at 8:18 a.m. and didn’t perform again until after 6 p.m.
“It was a long day and it was frustrating waiting,” said cheerleader Leigh Ellen Kilgore. “There was too much resting time in between.”
Despite the long interlude, the team moved up from fourth to third in their class at the final awards ceremony. Their work ethic brought them home a trophy and they are already in practice for the national competition to be held in Orlando next February. They earned the opportunity by placing first in the Regional Cheer Competition in November.
The team spends many hours in practice, tweaking routines and rehearsing stunt after stunt.
“It’s worth it,” said Michaela Upshaw.
Lori Kilgore said the girls often take the iniative to change and modify their routine in an effort to make it better.
‘They took their score sheets and judge’s suggestions (from State competition) and have already started working on them for Nationals,” Kilgore said. “Sometimes, they just take off on their own.”
“We never quit fixing it until we get it completely right,” said Jordan Ashley Harmon.
The team is busy preparing for the next competition and have already received several donations to assist them along their way. Kilgore said they would be happy to accept sponsors in any capacity for their upcoming trip.
“’That would be fantastic,” Kilgore said.