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Another national championship

By Paul Adkins padkins@civitasmedia.com

May 18, 2014

It’s often very difficult to win three straight championships.


Regardless of the sport, a 3-peat is very rare.


However, the Cheeriffic All-Stars, a Logan-based youth cheerleading organization, has pulled off the feat.


On Thursday night, Cheeriffic learned that its Small Gym Small Youth Level 2 team had been rated No. 1 in the United States in the final overall nationwide rankings.


The team ranked first in the country out of 123 total teams.


And those are just the 123 teams out of the hundreds and hundreds nationwide who qualified for the US Finals and were in national title contention.


Cheeriffic also had its other two teams place in the final national rankings.


The Cheeriffic Small Gym Mini Level 1 squad finished 12th nationally out of 95 teams in its division.


The Small Gym Junior Level 3 team from Cheeriffic placed 12th overall in the nation in the final rankings out of a total of 80 teams.


Cheeriffic closed out the 2014 season on May 3-4 in the US Finals, which were held at the Virginia Beach Convention Center in Virginia Beach, Va.


At Virginia Beach, the Cheeriffic Mini 1 and Youth 2 teams each took first place in their respective 19-team divisions to win national titles. The Junior Level 3 team was second out of 12 teams — only 0.6 points out of first. The Youth 2 team scored more than 92 points at Virginia Beach, one of the highest scores ever for any Cheeriffic team in its history.


The Virginia Beach event was one of seven US Final competitions held across the United States with the others taking place in Chicago, Topeka (Kan.), Los Angeles, Pensacola (Fla.), Providence (R.I.) and Indianapolis (Ind.).


The winners out of each of the venues then advanced to the US Finals Champions Challenge and were then placed one through seven and rescored by the judges via videotape.


Cheeriffic’s Youth Level 2 team then topped each of the winners of the six other venues to win the overall national title, beating squads from California, Ohio, Georgia, Michigan, New York, Pennsylvania and Missouri.


Cheeriffic is coached by Heather Bryant and Brittney Hartman. Both are former members of Logan High School’s cheerleading team.


Both coaches were thrilled to learn the news of their third straight national championship.


Social media went ablaze when the announcement was made, shortly after 5 p.m. on Thursday.


“The saying for this season has been R-I-N-G-S … rings, rings, rings,” Hartman said. “It sure does feel good to be back-to-back-to-back overall US Finals champions. It is not an easy accomplishment to achieve but here we are again being awarded it. And we have been blessed beyond measure to be awarded with the first-place ranking yet again. Without the power of The Lord guiding and making a way, this wouldn’t have been possible. All three of of our teams had phenomenal seasons and to end it with a first place ranking and two 12th-place rankings is amazing.”


Bryant said winning three straight national championships is a dream come true.


“What a wonderful way to end the season,” she said. “This is a dream come true for sure. I want to thank all the parents for their dedication and support especially my mother, Teresa Bryant, and grandmother, Margaret Keener. We all think of them as the Cheeriffic Prayer Warriors. They have instilled into us all ‘All things are possible through Christ who strengthens us.’ And that is one thing that it true. Without God’s blessings, we could not have achieved this honor again.”


Also helping coach Cheeriffic’s team is Bryant’s mother Teresa Bryant. She is also the team’s “Prayer Warrior.”


“I’m so very proud of the Cheeriffic girls,” Teresa Bryant said. “Without out a doubt they strive to be the best they can be. I’m so thankful for the dedicated coaches who never stop expecting nothing but the best from their girls. I love my Cheeriffic family and I know with all my heart the program wouldn’t be what it is without their support. I’m praising and thanking God for our blessings.”


Second behind Cheeriffic’s Youth Level 2 team in the final nationwide rankings was the Fierce Athletics team from the Los Angeles region, a squad based in Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., a suburban LA city of 165,269 people.


In third place in the final national rankings was the Mystiq Jewels Allstars of Columbus, Ohio, from the Chicago region.


Fourth place was occupied by the Top Notch Allstars of Lithonia, Ga., from the Pensacola region.


In fifth place nationally were the Capital Cheer All-Stars of Lansing, Mich., from the Indianapolis region.


Taking sixth place was the Core Athletix team of Rochester, N.Y., from the Providence, Rhode Island region.


The Perfection All-Stars of Canonsburg, Pa., another team from the Indianapolis region, was seventh.


In eighth place was the Fury Athletics team of Pleasant Valley, Mo., from the Topeka region.


Cheeriffic’s Virginia Beach region was said to have been the toughest of the seven US Finals venues across the nation.


That holds true when you look at the final national rankings in Youth Level 2.


Counting Cheeriffic’s first place 16 out of the top 23 teams nationwide came from the Virginia Beach region.


Thursday’s news of the national championship was more good news for Cheeriffic, which has won five overall national titles in the past three years.


Last year, the Cheeriffic Youth Level 1 team won the overall national title, taking first place out of 88 teams. Cheeriffic’s Mini Level 1 team also won an overall national crown in 2013 by placing first out of 84 total teams nationwide.


Also last year, Cheeriffic’s Youth Level 2 team finished national runner-ups out of 98 teams as the squad took second place in the final Spirit Rankings.


In 2012, the Cheeriffic Tiny and Mini teams won national titles.


Cheeriffic teams competed in six events this season, also taking part in competitions in Columbus (Ohio), Gatlinburg (Tenn.), Louisville (Ky.), Charlotte and Indianapolis with the US Super Nationals back in January.


The Cheeriffic teams practice out of the Flip and Twist Gym in downtown Logan.


When many of the cheerleaders showed up for regular gymnastics practices on Thursday evening, word of the national championship quickly spread.


With the national crown in the bag, Cheeriffic cheerleaders will be flooded with gifts in the coming weeks with national championship rings, jackets, sweatpants, banners and trophies.


The season is now over but Cheeriffic is not resting on its laurels.


Over summer vacation many of the returning team members will continue to work on individual gymnastics skills in preparation for the 2014-15 season which is scheduled to begin in the fall.


Being a member of Cheeriffic requires a lot of sacrifice and dedication from the cheerleaders, their parents and their families, Hartman said.


“Thank you to the parents and the girls for your support and tremendous dedication this season,” she said.