By: Paul AdkinsSports Editor
April 23, 2013
As regular gymnastics classes came to a close on Friday night at the Flip-N-Twist Gym in downtown Logan, Cheeriffic All-Star coaches Heather Bryant, Brittney Hartman and Teresa Bryant sat around the desk and pondered about another successful season.
There was hardly a free space to sit as they were surrounded by trophies won this season by the Cheeriffic youth all-star cheerleading teams.
On the walls hung championship banners from this season and in past years.
Packed away in the corners of the upstairs gym were dozens of other trophies, medals and ribbons.
There are still more trophies in storage at other places.
“We’re going to have to do something,” Teresa Bryant said when asked about all of the hardware and the lack of space. “You should see it when we have our camp. There’s not much room in here.”
It’s a problem that is a welcome one to the Cheeriffic All-Stars.
Simply put, the Logan-based youth all-star cheerleading group is becoming something of a national powerhouse.
In a competitive sports-minded city like Logan, known for its traditionally strong athletic programs, it really is not that much of a surprise.
Cheeriffic just completed another outstanding season a couple of weekends ago by taking three first-place finishes and three national titles at the U.S. Finals, which were held in Indianapolis, Ind.
All in all, Cheeriffic squad have brought home nine super national crowns this season, including a Universal Cheer Association (UCA) international championship won last month in Orlando, Fla.
The girls of Cheeriffic have competed in six states this season and the rewards have been sweet.
“The hard work has definitely paid off,” Hartman said. “To have three out of our four teams get first place at the U.S. Finals is a dream. It’s more than we’ve ever had. To compete as well as they have done I was overwhelmed. The teams in our gym are truly blessed.”
Cheeriffic teams took first place in the Youth 1, Youth 2 and Mini 1 levels at Indianapolis. The Cheeriffic Mini 2 team was second place.
Three of the four Cheeriffic squads scored better than 90 points — considered a highwater mark in the world of competitive cheerleading.
The event was one of three national youth all-star cheerleading competitions held April 13-14 across the country. The others were in Kansas City and Pensacola, Fla. Two more national competitions are to be held in Virginia Beach and Providence, R.I., the weekend of May 4-5.
When the Virginia and Rhode Island events are done, U.S. Finals officials will score and rank all of the teams from all the five venues into their “Spirit Rankings.”
The top teams in all of the levels will then be crowned as the true national champions.
Two Cheeriffic teams — the Tinys and the Minis — did it last year and won grand national championships.
It could happen again.
Remarkably, two Cheeriffic teams are currently ranked No. 1 in the United States after three of the five national events.
In a mere 13 days, the Cheeriffic teams will see how they finished nationally.
The Cheeriffic Mini 1 team is currently on top of the 41-team field ahead of No. 2-ranked Cheer Tyme All-Stars of Decatur, Ga. Third are the Cheer Command Rockets of Mokena, Ill. In Fourth place are the X-Cel Athletics squad of Chesterland, Ohio. The Victory Academy Lions of Bloomington, Ill., are ranked No. 5.
The Cheeriffic Youth Level 1 team is currently ranked No. 1 in the country out of total of 50 teams. Rated second in the nation are the Cheer Tyme All-Stars of Decatur, Ga. Third are the Terre Haute All-Star Cheer University team of Terre Haute, Ind. Ranked fourth nationally are the Lima Rebels of Lima, Ohio. Midwest Cheer Elite of Toledo, Ohio, and the Flip City All-Stars of Irwin, Pa., are tied for fifth.
In the Mini Level 2 national rankings, the Cheeriffic All-Stars are ranked third out of nine total teams behind the No.1 Spirit Elite Flare of St. Peters, Mo., and the second-ranked Legacy Xtreme All-Stars from Miamisburg, Ohio.
In the Youth Level 2 national rankings, Cheeriffic is second out of 41 total teams behind No. 1-rated Terre Haute All-Star Cheer University of Terre Haute, Ind. Ranked No. 3 are the Cheer Extreme All-Starz of Union City, Tenn. In fourth place is the ICE team from Fort Wayne, Ind. Fifth place is taken by the Ultimate Athletics Princesses team from Wauconda, Ill.
Cheeriffic’s two No. 1-ranked teams still have a shot at the grand national championship.
It now depends on how the teams do in Virginia Beach and Providence.
“I would love for our teams to have that. We’re hoping and praying that it is in our favor at the end,” Hartman said. “But if not our teams have all had amazing seasons. It was a great end to a great season.”
Heather Bryant said it’s a great feeling to have two of her teams ranked No. 1 in the country.
“It’s really incredible to be up against that many teams and for us to be from little Logan,” Bryant said. “It’s very rewarding. The kids don’t comprehend just how good they are. They don’t understand what level they are at. We feel grateful and blessed. We take it one competition at the time and the kids work as hard as they can. This is a dream.”
On March 9-10, Cheeriffic teams took first, second, third and fourth in the UCA International Championships, which was held at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Disney World and the Indiana Jones Theater at Disney’s Hollywood Studios in Orlando, Fla. The Cheeriffic All-Stars competed against some of the best youth cheerleading teams from all over the United States, Canada, Europe, South America and the Far East.
On March 22-23, Cheeriffic took two teams to the Jamfest Louisville event and placed first and fourth.
Back on January 18-19, Cheeriffic teams won four super national championships at the Jamfest Super Nationals event in Indianapolis with four first-place finishes. The results qualified the teams for the U.S. Finals.
The U.S. Finals showing was the icing on the cake for months of hard work.
The cheerleaders began practices for the season in late August and have worked diligently on their gymnastics skills, dance routines and their overall fitness.
For those of you that do not know, competitive cheerleading is not the kind of “rah rah team” that you see on the sidelines of football games.
Competitive cheerleading is a high energy, high flying, highly coordinated routine filled with tumbles, stunts, tosses, flips, dance moves and basket catches over the span of only two and a half minutes.
If you have seen the Toros and the Clovers from Bring It On movie fame, you have seen competition level cheerleading, or at least, something like it.
Just don’t use the spirit fingers.
All kidding aside, the Cheeriffic team’s hard work and dedication has paid some handsome dividends. The winning teams have brought home championship banners, jackets, medals and trophies this season in addition to a lifetime of wonderful memories.
“Our girls are amazing,” Hartman said. “You can give them anything to do and they will do it on the drop of a dime. They know who gives them strength and it comes from God above.”
* At Indianapolis earlier this month, Cheeriffic took first place in the 12-team Level 1 Small Mini Cheer division with 92.800 points. Second was the CYC Raiders from Kenosha, Wis., with 90.510 points. In third place was Interactive Academy of Zionsville, Ind., with 89.170 points. Fourth place was the Cheer Champions of Whiteland, Ind., with 88.540 points. The Cheer Force One Silver Sparrows of Pataskala, Ohio, took fifth with 88.470 points.
Sixth place was the Scamps Outlaws of Kenosha, Wis., with 88.090 points. The Wabash Valley Rebels of Terre Haute, Ind., took seventh place with 88.030 points. In eighth place was the Cole Academy All-Stars from Muncie, Ind., with 87.960 points. The Champions Elite team of Landen, Ohio, was in ninth place with 84.410 points. The Flip and Twist All-Stars of Ferdinand, Ind., was 10th place with 84.080 points. In 11th place was the Twister All-Stars from Washington Court House, Ohio with 83.120 points. The Bloomington United White Pearlz team of Bloomington, Ind., was 12th place with 77.520 points.
The Cheeriffic All-Stars also grabbed first place in the nine-team Level 1 Large Youth Cheer division at Indianapolis with 92.990 points. In a close second were the Terre Haute All-Star Cheer University team from Terre Haute, Ind., with 92.360 points. Taking third were the Flip City Flyers Glitz team of Irwin, Pa., with 92.040 points. The Valley Xtreme Dedication team of Louisville, Ky., was fourth with 91.780 points. The Terre Haute All-Star Cheer University independent team was fifth with 91.400 points.
In sixth place was Interactive Academy of Zionsville, Ind., with 90.700 points. Seventh place was occupied by Legendary Premier Chic Topaz of Algonquin, Ill., with 89.110 points. Southern Elite, another all-star cheerleading squad from Logan, was eighth place with 88.250 points. The Bluegrass Cheercats Jags team of Hopkinsville, Ky., was ninth with 86.400 points.
Cheeriffic was also the first-place champion at Indianapolis in the 11-team Level 2 Small Youth Cheer division with 90.790 points. The Logan team edged out the Cheer Extreme All-Starz of Union City, Tenn., which had 90.280 points. Club 10 of Sullivan, Ind., was third with 89.040 points. The Cole Academy All-Stars of Muncie, Ind., was fourth with 87.480 points. The Spirit Explosion Youth team of New Albany, Ind., was fifth place with 87.480 points.
Taking sixth was Heart of Ohio from Xenia, Ohio, with 87.200 points. The CYC Raiders of Kenosha, Wis., was seventh place with 86.290 points. The Lake Erie Ultimate All-Stars Passion team of Chesterland, Ohio, was eighth with 82.670 points. In ninth place were the Bright Stars of Harrison, Ohio, with 81.310 points. The Hardin County Heat Cheer team of Kenton, Ohio, took 10th with 80.470 points. The Paoli Elite team of Paoli, Ind., was 11th place with 79.490 points.
The Cheeriffic All-Stars were second at Indy in the seven-team Level 2 Mini Cheer division with 87.130 points. The Legacy Xtreme All-Stars Gators team of Miamisburg, Ohio, were the winners with 88.430 points. In third place were the Flipside Dynamite team of Festus, Mo., with 86.570 points. The Empire Cheer and Dance Tiaras team of Columbus, Ohio, took fourth with 84.040 points. The Twist-N-Turns Comets from Jeffersonville, Ind., were fifth with 82.360 points. In sixth place was the Xtreme Edge Athletics team of Monroe City, Ind., with 79.930 points. Bringing up the rear in seventh place as the Hoosier Elite HEAT team of Fort Wayne, Ind., with 78.930 points.
Teresa Bryant said dedication and support by the cheerleaders’ parents also was key to the team’s success this season.
Most of the cheerleaders hail from “L.A.,” the Logan area, but a handful come from Chapmanville and a sprinkling of Mingo County communities making Cheeriffic a true “all-star” troop.
“I’m just so thankful,” Bryant said. “I saw unity and love from the parents. I saw hard working coaches and hard working children. I can’t say enough about how everyone came together and worked so hard and all of the sacrifices that were made. I saw God move upon these kids in a mighty way.”
Bryant is now crossing her fingers awaiting the final Spirit Rankings in the coming days.
“It’s anybody’s ballgame,” she said. “Well, actually I should say that it’s anybody’s cheer comp.”