SJA cheerleaders win back-to-back national titles
BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - The Saint Joseph Academy (SJA) cheerleaders brought home their second consecutive national title by placing first in the Super Varsity Div. II.
The team also competed in the World School Cheerleading Championship and finished second.
“I could not be more proud of this team,” coach Mollye McManus said. “They have worked so hard all year learning new skills and perfecting old ones, and it showed. We have created the most challenging routine that SJA has ever performed, and they stepped up and left it all on the mat. This team competed against 12 of the best Super Varsity teams in the country, and their skills and level of performance were unmatched. SJA is the first-ever back-to-back champion in the Super Varsity DII division! They wanted it, they fought hard and they got it.”
Coach Lauren Sommer said that despite a “hit” routine with zero deductions in the semifinal round, the team’s scores indicated there was room for improvement in the execution. “So later that night, we all sat together and critiqued the routine in slow-motion, pointing out all the ways we could improve,” she said. “We spent the morning of finals cleaning up the routine and making small changes that we hoped would make a difference. The girls took every single correction and executed it flawlessly. Their final performance absolutely blew everyone away. We could not be more proud of this team.”
Senior and captain Sadie McManus said that sitting in second place at the end of the first day of competition provided ample motivation to make the necessary adjustments to their routine. “Being 1.3 points behind first place, we knew just getting zero deductions wouldn’t cut it,” she said. “We knew it would come down to the smallest differences to make us stand out from the competition. We were determined to prove to the judges that we can and will fix the small critiques to push our score to the max. And in our final performance on Saturday, we did just that. Our score jumped 2.2 points, landing us the national title in the Super Varsity Division. I will always remember the determination I saw within each of my teammates. Being second on day one lit a fire in us that motivated us to give everything we had to take the title for the second year in a row.
“Personally, winning meant so much more than another national title and white jacket,” McManus added. “It was a representation of all the long hours of practicing and immense dedication this team gave throughout the season. After 15 years, this accomplishment capped my cheerleading career in the absolute best possible way. I have never been a part of a team that was so deserving, and as a captain, it has been an honor to lead such an amazing group of girls.”
Sophomore Arden Ellis said in light of the fierce competition they faced, the win was all the more gratifying. “We did the best routine I have ever seen SJA do,” Ellis said. “We fixed every little mistake that our coaches talked to us about. What I will remember most about this weekend is the second we found out we won. We knew that it was going to be a very close competition because all the teams were so good. When we knew we had won, I have never been so happy. That was the best feeling in the whole world. It means that all the hours, all the injuries, and all the sweat that we put into this team really paid off. It means that we are one of the best teams in the nation.”
Senior Grace Rowley said she will always remember the team’s determination and will to fight and succeed. “Each team member knew what their job was and how to do it,” she said. “Bringing home a national title is more than bringing home a white jacket. This title wasn’t given but earned by hard work and dedication. I could not be prouder of my teammates.”
Freshman Channing Brown said the team’s chemistry allowed them to come together at the perfect time and leave everything on the mat. “I will always remember how much fun this team can have and how much joy we bring to cheerleading,” she said. “I will also remember how much drive we had to win, going into finals in second place and then turning it around to bring home first. This team is truly special, and I have never felt more supported and loved and pushed, even being a freshman. This team is my family, and everyone on this team deserves that white jacket.”
Senior Sophie Huffine said the squad put their hearts into the last routine and left the floor with no regrets. “We all decided we were going to give everything we could for our finals performance,” she said. “I will also remember the bond we created during the weekend that I will cherish forever. Bringing home the title of national champion showed us that when you work hard, good things will happen to you. We worked countless hours to win nationals, and knowing we did that made us realize how amazing our team really is.”
The competition was held at ESPN’s Wide World of Sports from February 11-12.
Click here to report a typo.
Copyright 2022 WAFB. All rights reserved.