Cheer: Monarchs qualify for nationals

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For the first time in 20 years, the Exeter Union cheer squad is heading to the National Competition

By Patrick Dillon @PDillon_SGN

EXETER—For a school of 962 students competing in a nation competition may seem out of reach. However, on Feb. 23-25 the Exeter Monarch cheer squad will in fact go up against the best in the Nation at the United Spirit Association (USA) Nationals in Anaheim.

Last month on Nov. 11 at a the Exeter squad qualified for the Nationals at a competition at Clovis North High School. The teams were divided into various divisions according to size. The squad only had one other team to go up against which may not seem like a big deal.

However, it is against the scoreboard that the teams really go up against. In order to qualify a squad must score 75 points or better. Exeter did in fact take second in their division, but surpassed the limit needed to qualify.

“I was just shocked,” said co-captain Savannah Weirick. “I didn’t know what to do, so I just stood there. Some of my teammates began to cry. This is a once in a lifetime chance.”

The emotional response was warrant being that in 2016 they had tried to qualify for Nationals but came up short. Also, the realization that they had done what no other squad was able to do since 1988. On that squad was current head coaches Audrey Thomas’s mother.

“After last year’s result this squad was determined to achieve the goal,”Thomas said.

It is that determination that has driven Exeter to this point. Weirick admits that her and her teammates get frustrated with each other. However, that is a result of the chemistry that the 12 girls have. As Weirick describes it, “we’re a family.”

That family bond and the trust that comes with it will help Exeter when it comes to the competition. Entered in a division where their routines require medium to hard stunt. However, there will be no tumbling as all squads in this division have no prior experience. Weirick believes the key to success is trust in both the routine and each other.

“We cannot make any last minute, and we cannot get frustrated with each other,” Weirick said.

Even though Exeter will be competing against hundreds of other teams they feel a bond with each one of them in a common goal: to validate cheerleading as a sport.

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