Southern Utah cheer club wins national title

ST. GEORGE — A local cheer club claimed two national titles and placing in the top five twice more at the National Cheer Association’s All-Star Nationals.

Members of Champion All-Stars Cheer, date and location not specified | Photo courtesy of Champion All-Stars Cheer, St. George News

On March 6, Champion Allstars Cheer had four teams win awards and subsequently earn bids to the prestigious D2 Summit invitational in Orlando in May. Champion Allstars Cheer teams Golden Girls and Lady Legacy both won their respective fields at the NCA event, which the club says is a first for Utah based clubs. Jr. Empire finished third and Lady Deuces took fourth in their competitions.

Through a year of COVID-19 restrictions and other tribulations, the eight-year-old club broke through on a national level, even if they had to perform from their own gym and find out the results remotely. 

“It’s crazy. I still can’t believe it,” Ellsie Newby, a member of Lady Legacy told St. George News. “It’s hard to wrap your head around it when you competed at your own gym because we weren’t there. Seeing we won over a screen is still crazy.”

Because of the pandemic, the NCA competition was held virtually for the first time. Teams submitted their routine videos from home. There were no crowds to lead cheers for.

Regardless, Lady Legacy’s routine scored a 97.3 out of 100 possible points. They ranked seventh across the 4.2 level altogether, even among teams with larger groups to perform. 

Golden Girls’ 97.7 won by .8 points in their group. Jr. Empire’s 97.3 couldn’t track down a near-perfect 99 from first place, and Lady Deuces were .1 point behind a podium spot in their groups.

Members of Champion All-Stars Cheer, date and location not specified | Photo courtesy of Champion All-Stars Cheer, St. George News

The groups are broken up by age (youth, junior, senior), team size (small, medium or large) and difficulty. Groups with enough teams were further broken down into smaller subgroups. 

In all, more than 23,000 cheerleaders on at least 1,250 teams from around the country sent in routine videos across all levels. Amongst their national peers, Champion All-Stars Cheer shined on the brightest level.

It was a culmination of eight years of developing girls from a young age to compete. Athletes that competed in minis when the club opened now make up roughly half of the senior teams, including Newby, club owner Cassidy Legg said. 

“It’s been so rewarding to see that those years of building and really reinforcing the basics have allowed us to grow into where we are,” Legg said. “On our older teams, there’s a good amount that started with us when they were minis. Now they’re on that 4.2 team that ended up winning… It was rewarding, mostly for that 4.2 team because they’ve had this in mind for a good streak with us.”

It could have been easy for the teams to fold. After a huge momentum building season in 2020 was cut short, athletes were asked to train at home with video courses for two months. Even when they could practice together, they were often missing team members due to quarantine and had to use subs to practice the routine. 

“From August through December, I don’t think we ever had a full week where we had the full team for the gym, attendance wise,” club director and coach of Lady Legacy, Golden Girls and Lady Deuces Deleece Smith said. “We had at least two people missing from practice from quarantine guidelines. It was hard.”

Smith and Legg both said that the teams’ unwavering commitments made it possible, however. Legg said you don’t see the work ethic her teams had “very much these days.” Their reward was national recognition, even if it came in digital form.

Lady Legacy of Champion All-Stars Cheer pose with their championship banner, date and location not specified | Photo courtesy of Champion All-Stars Cheer, St. George News

Legg said her Jr. Empire’s team found out they had placed third while watching a livestream in between performances in a competition in Salt Lake City. They gathered around a screen, found out they finished third, celebrated and then went out and won that event as well.

It lacked the typical fanfare of a typical cheerleading event. A lot of celebrating, including when Lady Legacy earned its paid bid, happened over video calls, which may have made it more special, Legg said.

“It wasn’t as organic as it maybe would have been at an actual competition, how awards used to be,” Legg said. “But nothing this season has been. So it was almost fitting, like the COVID season. Maybe it made it even a little more special because they were just surrounded by the people that have been there with them through the whole journey, the people that have supported them.”

Legg said her favorite part was how the team celebrated but immediately got back to work. The next day, the teams were back in the gym practicing at the Be More Complex. Their next goal is the D2 Summit, which Smith called “the Super Bowl of cheer.” 

All four teams earned bids into invitation-only competition and will be competing in the Sunshine State starting May 13.

In addition to preparing for that, the club is holding placements for next season’s teams on April 19.

More information on the club can be found on their website.

Copyright St. George News, LLC, 2021, all rights reserved.


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