District of Champions: MPS Cheer Squads Bring Home Four National TitlesMar 09, 2020
National championships are remarkable achievements and are celebrated by everyone associated with the school teams and squads that reach such a lofty height. This spring, the celebrations are incredibly widespread as four cheerleading squads brought home national title hardware from the highly competitive National Cheerleading Association 2020 High School Nationals. The event took place on February 1st and 2nd in Dallas, Texas.
Here are the prestigious titles won by the four squads from Moore Public Schools:
Westmoore – Coed Advanced High School
Moore – Advanced Medium Varsity
Southridge – Intermediate Junior High/Middle School
Brink – Advanced Junior High/Middle School
The coaches for these squads said the journey to a national championship is a long and demanding road that began last summer.
"These girls have worked really hard," said Shana Lewis, Moore High Schools' in school coach. "They normally practice five days a week, and they come to practice even if they're sick or hurt."
"We come back from cheer camp and start putting together a routine," said Amanda Robinson, outside cheer coach for Southridge. "It's not going to be the same routine we perform in February, but it's something that's going to give them confidence as we begin competing in November."
Those routines evolve over the rest of the summer and during the school year as the squad grows in confidence and familiarity with each other.
"These cheer athletes are teachable," said Misty Scott, Southridge's school coach. "They work as hard as any other athlete at school, and they truly push their bodies past their exceeding limits."
"Our squad was able to bond together like no other before," said Lindsay Evans, Moore's JV coach. "They put their differences aside and just made things work, and that's what made them outstanding this year."
From the outside, it's easy to think that all the different squads are competing with each other. All the MPS cheer coaches agree that this is true, but only to an extent. There's also a remarkable amount of cooperation and support that exists between the schools.
"The national titles are for individual schools," said Jenni Hawkins, outside coach for Westmoore and Brink, "But it really is a joint effort by all of us. We coaches are constantly talking to each other, talking about skills and what our squads are doing to make sure we're on the right track and helping each other along."
Amanda said, "We also have a district-wide practice around two weeks before we go to NCA, so we can see each other's routines and help give advice. There's also a showing the week of NCA. This allows all our parents and friends to watch all the teams. So we do a lot together."
Westmoore's in-school coach, Mallory Rigsby, says that the district-wide support in Moore is something that doesn't happen everywhere.
"Moore is an exceptional place for this sort of thing," said Rigsby. "I don't think any of the other districts that have multiple schools rally around each other the way we do here."
The district-wide camaraderie and all the hours of practice begin to pay off when the squads head to Dallas to face off with the best cheerleading squads in America. All of the coaches say they're still stunned, weeks later, at how well the teams did.
"This year, we decided to push our team and compete in the advanced level," said Marcy Woodson, the Brink coach. "It's probably the most difficult level for a junior high team to compete in, and they had to take their skills to a new level where a lot of these kids have never performed."
"It's tough to win an NCA championship," said Lewis. "I can't remember a year where our district brought home four national titles. We have some amazing cheer programs across the Moore district.
"I'm still speechless," said Scott. "This was my first NCA to go to as a coach, and the wave of emotion you ride with these kids as you watch them achieve such greatness is unreal."
It's not just that four squads brought home national championships, it's also the challenges they overcame on that road to victory.
"What's interesting is that right before nationals, it's flu season," said Robinson. "We have so many kids who battle the flu, and their doctors are telling parents, 'Your child needs to go home and rest.' But the kids' response is that they don't have time for that. It's the NCA season. So they put on their mask and come to practice."
It also helps that schools from the MPS district have a legacy of success at NCA nationals.
"This year was our 10th national championship," said Rigsby. "When you go into our gym, you'll see the banners, and it really gives each squad a tremendous sense of history and legacy."
That sense of history and legacy is one that all of the coaches and their squads plan to work hard to repeat in the future.
"These are some of the strongest athletes you'll ever meet, especially mentally," said Scott. "We push them to be champions, and they rose to that level this year."
"It makes me so proud to be a part of this great legacy in Moore," said Robinson. "To have one championship is remarkable, but to have four is something we can all celebrate and be excited about for each other."
"I wish I could just bottle this feeling and relive it every day with these kids," said Hawkins. "They kids work so hard and overcome so much to get here. It's a remarkable achievement."