Auburn Mountainview High School’s (AMHS) cheerleading team competed against some of the best cheerleaders in the country and took home the Small Varsity NT National Championship on Feb. 15, 2022.
The team’s success on the national level is a testament to their character and dedication to the sport, coach Shana Briggs said.
“I really attribute the success to their character and the human beings that they are, just how positive and uplifting they are to each other. That’s what made this team,” Briggs said. “They truly care for each other. I do believe that’s what sets them apart from other teams.”
In 2019, the team took home second place in the championship. The next year, things didn’t go their way, and they placed 10th. The freshmen who competed in 2019 are seniors now, and this was their last chance to win the title of national champions, Briggs said.
The team’s journey to the national championship began in the midst of the pandemic — for six months, they even had to practice via Zoom, Briggs said. When they finally got to practice in person, it was in the freezing cold, but the cheerleaders never gave up, Briggs said.
In October, the team had to petition the school board to allow them to travel to Florida for the championship.
After winning state and going undefeated in regionals, they knew they would get another shot at becoming national champions. This year, they went up against 78 other teams. For comparison, in 2019 and 2020, there were around 40 other teams competing.
After advancing through the preliminary rounds and making it to the finals, the coaches realized they had the fifth highest score and needed to make some changes to the routine. With only 12 hours before their final competition, Briggs and her assistant coaches made some tweaks to the routine.
In the end, those tweaks were exactly what the team needed to come out on top; they finished two points higher than the second place team, Briggs said.
“We are so proud of each other for putting in so much hard work and dedication,” team captain Camryn Ketchum said. “We all did it for the person next to us! We are still in shock and are just so extremely ecstatic about winning first in the nation! We are so thankful to have such amazing coaches who have led us to this victory!”
All of the obstacles that AMHS faced leading up to the competition made their victory that much better, Briggs said.
“This victory came as a big shock,” team captain Kylee Alfrey said. “None of us were really sure what place we were going to be awarded. We knew that we gave it our all and it paid off. This victory is because of our amazing coaches who never ever gave up on us and pushed us to be our very best every day. We are so incredibly thankful for this opportunity. Being first in the nation is a huge accomplishment.”