Winning a national title is familiar business for the Augusta Christian cheerleading squad. But for many on the school’s all-girl team, the experience was a new one.
“It was really a big deal,” said head coach Jaime McKie. “This team, with the exception of two girls, is entirely new.”
The competition squad traveled in January to Orlando, Fla., for the Fellowship of Christian Cheerleaders National Championship, where the cheerleaders won titles in Open Division and Dance.
Since 2007, the school has won six cheering titles at the national championship. This was the first year, however, that they competed in dance – and competition was stiff, McKie said.
“It was pretty awesome,” she said. “That was the one that took my breath.”
The 16-member squad learned the hip-hop dance routine just two weeks before leaving for Florida.
The girls, fully dressed in character with dramatic makeup and teased hair, danced to Michael Jackson’s Thriller.
“We were zombies” said squad co-captain T’Asia Robinson, who played Michael Jackson in the routine. “That was super fun.”
Robinson, a junior, is the oldest member on the cheerleading team.
At the annual FCC competition, nearly 100 schools nationwide competed in several divisions. In order to participate, schools had to win either a camp or regional championship. They also were invited if the cheerleading squad, like Augusta Christian’s, was defending a title.
“It was good to be back,” said captain Caroline Paradise, a sophomore who attended the event in 2011. “Competing to me is the most rewarding thing, just getting to show everyone what you’ve been working so hard on the whole season.”
The squad had worked on their cheer routine since August, but many parts of the skit had changed between then and the championship.
“We have come a long way,” Robinson said.
With six cheerleaders graduating last May, McKie said a third of the members on this year’s team had never cheered before.
And while not many people gave her girls a chance to repeat, McKie said she is proud they did.
“They just worked themselves crazy between May of last year up until we went to Nationals,” she said.