An All Star cheer team based in Arkport is heading to one of the biggest cheerleading competitions in the country.
After placing first and taking the Grand Championship in their division, the New York Icons South Allure team has won a full paid bid to U.S. Finals, but they didn’t stop there.
“We’re kind of expecting to have a little bit more competition from a couple teams, but I think we can dominate,” Cheerleader Nora Schubmehl said.
In addition to qualifying for the U.S. Finals, the team earned a wild card bid to an even larger scale competition: the Summit. Around 12,000 teams will compete for a Summit bid before it’s game time at Disney World in May. Less than 2,000 will actually earn one.
They qualified after competing in their first contest of the season last month in Buffalo.
“When we went to competition, you know, you always hope for a first, but you’re never expecting it especially with the caliber of teams that we went up against,” Gym Co-Owner and Co-Head Coach Amanda Azzi said. “Just to win the first bid, which was the U.S. Finals bid – it’s still a really big event but it’s not as big as the Summit – we were ecstatic. Then once we heard that we had gotten the Summit bid we were literally crying and shaking. It was a big experience.”
The team is up made of up 16 girls ranging from six-years-old to 15-years-old. They practice three times a week together and are preparing for their next competition in Pennsylvania this weekend.
After speaking to a couple of the girls, I noticed one common denominator they all shared: trust.
“It’s amazing because I know I can trust them when I’m in the air,” Schubmehl said. “I just know that they’ll catch me. When I’m basing I know my flyers can trust me. I just trust them so much and love them.”
“You can tell them basically anything, and you know if you mess up with anything that they will never get mad at you,” Cheerleader Kaitlyn Doty said. “You can always trust them with everything.”
No matter the outcome of the upcoming competitions, one coach says the girls will hold onto life lessons because of this gym.
“When they’re faced with doing the wrong thing or doing the right thing, they’re going to think about the lessons that they learned here on these mats, and they’re going to chose to do the right thing,” Gym Co-Owner and Co-Head Coach Bethany Adams said. “It’s more than just cheerleading. It’s more than just the things that they’re going to learn about this sport. They’re going to learn about working hard in life and giving everything that you have all the time no matter how you feel, and I think they’ll take that further.”
The girls are working hard and hoping for the best, and only time will tell how they’ll do this weekend.