The St. Joseph’s Academy cheerleaders finished second in the 2020 National High School Cheerleading Championship, held February 8 at the ESPN Wide World of Sports in Orlando. The squad competed in Super Varsity Division II against 30 other teams.
On February 9, the team was among the six squads competing in the World School Cheerleading Championship against cheerleaders from Super Varsity Divisions I and II. The girls finished second to earn another silver medal.
Coach Chelsea Milazzo said this year’s routine was the most difficult the cheerleaders have ever brought to Nationals. “The girls showed determination and dedication, and because of that, we were able to medal in an extremely competitive division,” she said. “The hard work that this year’s team has shown has been unmatched by any team I’ve ever coached. We are so proud of what they have accomplished, and it will only continue to grow and get better from here.”
Moderator Lauren Morris was equally complimentary of the team’s accomplishments. “To walk away from Nationals with two silver medals is absolutely outstanding,” she said. “To compete with a routine as difficult as ours was takes dedication and hard work all year long. This shows that dedication and hard work truly pay off.”
Senior Emma Hidalgo is captain of this year’s team. She said that bringing home two silver medals was a great way to end her final season. “We put in so much time and effort, and we all truly care about one another,” she said. “I am so proud of how much heart we put into what we do. Whenever something would mess up at practice, we would do it again without being told; not because we had to, but because we truly wanted to be the best we could be, and we all wanted the best for each other. Even though we did not win, we built such a name for ourselves and represented St. Joseph’s so well. This was the best season of cheer I have ever had, and I could not have asked for it to end any better.”
Kaylyn Ainsworth, a senior, said she was proud of the grit and determination her team showed all year. “We gave everything we had and put out three amazing performances,” she said. “Throughout the weeks of practice, we dealt with plenty of injuries and soreness, but when it came down to it, we knew it was going to be a push to put out the best routines we could. Winning two silver medals is an outstanding accomplishment, and I could not have asked for a better way to leave my teammates than with the love and dedication we showed this past weekend.”
Emma Grace Shannon, a junior, said that while the team fell just short in its quest for two gold medals, she was gratified by the effort the cheerleaders displayed. “It is an honor to be able to wear a silver medal around my neck, especially in the division we are in,” she said. “Our team did the best we could. This year was the hardest we have ever worked to prepare for Nationals. Our routine was very difficult, and I barely had time to breathe during the routine. Our hard work obviously paid off, and I am so proud and glad to be a part of this team.”
Mindy Brodhead Averitt
Photos courtesy of Lauren Morris