For the first time in school history, the Davis High School cheer squad brought a trophy home from the United Spirit Association National Championships.
Competing in Anaheim over the weekend, the team placed second out of 15 high school teams in the super varsity show cheer novice division.
The super varsity division is for teams with between 21 and 32 members, and after losing a few squad members at the beginning of the season, the Blue Devils had to combine the junior varsity and varsity squads just to have enough athletes to qualify.
Even then, DHS had one of the smaller squads in the competition, unable to create the large visual formations many of their competitors could. Instead, they had to perform to perfection.
Heading into the weekend competition, the Devils knew they had to finish in the top five on Friday night in order to move on. A variety of elements were required in that performance, including tumbling, stunts, an elite sequence, a cheer, a pyramid, dance and jumps — all packed into 2 1/2 minutes.
The team was judged on how cleanly each element was performed, as well as timing, spacing, choreography and degree of difficulty.
At the end of the night, 10 squads were sent packing, but not the Blue Devils. DHS just made the cut, entering the finals as the fifth-place team.
That first night’s score counted for 30 percent of the overall score, so the locals knew they had some ground to make up in order to win a trophy on Saturday, and they did.
For the stunting portion of the routine on Saturday night, fliers Rana Eser, Mo Roeckl-Navazio, Alyssa Vitangcol, Camille Johnson and Summer Yeo were strong and balanced, held steady by bases and backspots Lauren Haverlock, Brittany Aldredge, Megan Klisiewicz, Addie Neel, Lauren Hupe, Aimee Davis, Megan Barlow, Lucia Palmer, Elisa Nelson, Shae Langley and Kathleen Pan.
Synchronized tumbling passes by Kalysta Holder, Adriana Lowry, Kaylee Boehm, Molly Bernard and Anna Verdiguel went off perfectly and the final pyramid was perfectly symmetrical.
Davis coach Danielle Eckert said she was thrilled with the Devils’ performance.
“The girls had to overcome a number of obstacles and had to work very hard to combine the JV and varsity squads and to learn the new routine quickly,” Eckert said. “They hit all elements perfectly under the pressure of the final round. It is a credit to all those young athletes that they were able to come from behind to shine when it mattered most.”