Lakeshore cheer captain Andrea Haynes started cheerleading at age 6.
When she arrived at Lakeshore, she joined the school’s cheerleading squad, so the senior knows a thing or two about the cheerleading scene.
But even that knowledge could not prepare her for the immediate happiness that she and her friends felt in Jan. 22 as the Titans took home the national championship in the Game Day Coed Small Varsity division of the 2023 National Cheerleaders Association (NCA) High School National Championships in Memphis, Tenn.
“It’s a real experience,” Haynes said. “It’s crazy to think we’re national champions. We’re so proud of this team for putting in all the work and determination to win. We all went into nationals knowing we wanted to get first. This team worked hard. to do so.”
Lakeshore bested 14 other teams in its division to bring home a national championship.
“It was a good way to end our senior year,” said senior captain Chloe Tulli. “It was a dream come true, to see how everyone grew in their role on the team was amazing, we had a lot of new people on the team competing, just seeing how hard everyone worked to win was special. “
Lakeshore head coach Megan Treigle is in her 10th season. When the Titans began competing in the NCA seven years ago, they finished 15th at nationals, but have improved every year since. Entering the competition in 2023, they had a goal of finishing in the Top 3 or the winning round after finishing fourth in 2022.
With six seniors returning from last year, Treigle knew her team had a chance to reach their goals.
“It’s very serious,” Treigle said. “We start our season at camp in June, and that’s where you’ll see how the new players will do with the returning players. This was a special team. My six seniors have been on the team for four years, and they’re all great. out of happiness.”
The Titans learn the three-minute competition from their choreographer in July; After all, it’s all about practice. They practice three days a week and during football season, they host a weekly gridiron tournament. Then come local tournaments in December that serve as a refresher for nationals. The Titans went 3-0 in those contests to add to their “undefeated” national championship streak.
The three-minute routine begins with a team chant, moves to a sideline cheer (either offense or defense), then the team name is dropped, followed by a basic cheer and then a fight song with end signs.
“It’s very, very difficult,” Haynes said. “To the naked eye, it looks like we’re just rocking our poms and everything, but there’s a lot of time and effort to make sure everyone looks the same. We have a lot that goes into it that people don’t really see. It’s because A very challenging but fun experience.”
Let’s not forget the boys on this team. This year’s cheerleading squad consists of 14 girls and four boys, who don’t start working with the team until the end of soccer, so there is a learning curve.
“It’s a lot different than football where you’re always hitting somebody, but now, you’re going to go to a game where you’re going to be excited about people hitting each other,” Lakeshore junior wide receiver Jaden Wells said. “It was very exciting
Second-year senior leader Luke Horner said it was exciting to know that all their hard work had paid off in a championship.
Months of training led up to the team’s performance on Jan. 1. 21. They posted the second best score of the tournament, but then came the hardest part. After each team presents, the judges offer a list of possible corrections that could improve their Day 2 scores.
The Titans went through the first half of their routine Saturday night and woke up Sunday morning to practice the changes again. It worked.
When the team stood in the winner’s circle, waiting for the judges to announce the second place team, they found out that their score was 93.65. The only question was whether she would be good at first and second.
“We all held hands and I heard 93.0 and I didn’t hear anything else after that because I knew we won,” Tulli said. “It’s indescribable. I’ve been working on this since last year.”
Senior Charlotte Drews, who joined the team in 8th grade, agreed: “We were shaking. When we were announced, we all jumped up and screamed and cried. The best feeling ever.”
And now, the group gets a week off before heading to several Carnival parades. Tryouts for next season are in March.
“To see a whole year of work pay off in that moment, you realize it’s really worth it,” Treigle said.