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National Cheer & Dance Championship Blog

For this year's event, we will give highlights of the days competition, warm your heart with human interest stories from across the country, and give you a performers perspective of the National Experience. Check back often for frequent updates every day!

Cheer & Dance Blog

WESCON REGION SPOTLIGHT - FRIDAY

The Saddleback Valley Bears are not new to nationals. They have been here before, with an exception of 3 girls and the coaches. The coaching staff is new this year with head coach, Mekayla, having cheered since she was 7 and having coached Allstars. Although the girls weren’t as sure of their coaches that they would make it here, they still worked very hard and pushed with strong determination to make to Florida. The team agreed that their dance and stunting was their favorite part of their routine. Having almost lost girls and adapting to a new coaching staff, the Bears surely persevered and made it.
The coaches love how Pop Warner prepares the girls for high school and after with their educational requirements and how the girls cheer for games as well as compete. It is a very community based program, and encourages teamwork and friendships. With all their fundraising, commitment, and teamwork throughout the season, their coaches are so proud of how far they have come and how hard they have tried. Their girls inspire them each day. Mekayla says her mother has been a mentor and inspiration to her throughout cheer, having coached her and coached with her. Assistant coach, Sesilia, says Mekayla has been a mentor in the way she has helped her transition into the position and has helped her to learn all that she knows. For this team, it is not about winning, but about giving it their all.

The Temecula Valley Fighting Kodiaks are new to nationals, and for half the team, completely new to cheer. The team had practiced very hard and put a lot of effort into their routine. Their hardest challenge of the year was perfecting their team forward roll. With all the time and dedication they definitely improved and did an amazing job with it. Considering the short amount of time they had to work on their routine, the teams hard work certainly paid off. The stunting was the collective favorite part of their routine. The coaches believe that Pop Warner has a lot of integrity as a whole. It is a very community based program that empowers the children. They truly love how safety is one of Pop Warner’s top priorities. The coaches would advise that any new coach to the program to have good communication with the families and ensure that they know what is expected of their children. These coaches are so proud of how far their girls have come.


FRIDAY JR REPORTER BRIELLE DOUGHERTY

Brielle Dougherty cheers proudly for the Avalon Wolves in the Mid Florida League.  She enjoys Pop Warner and loves that through the program she had made lifelong friend.  She competed with her team Thursday evening and will cherish that memory forever.

The Wolves are a Junior Pee Wee Level one medium team.  Most of them have been cheering for 2, 3, or 4 years.  At their regionals they placed 3rd.   This is their first year competing at Pop Warner National Cheer and Dance.   They are mostly 4th, 5th, and 6th graders. They proudly cheer for their football team. They have done multiple fundraisers. Some of those include: selling candles and tumblers, bucket drops, and many more fundraisers. Go West Volusia Wolves!

The Anaheim City Lady Rams are a Junior Pee Wee Level 2 Medium team with 13 girls.  Most of the girls have been cheering for 1-2 years. At their regionals they placed 1st. This is their first time competing on the blue mat at nationals. They are in 4th, 5th, and 6th grade. They cheer for their football team and love doing that. They do several fundraisers such as: carwashes and food collections. Go Rams!


FRIDAY JR REPORTER HANNAH CARRERO
Hannah Carrero is a cheerleader from the Orlando area and competed last night with the Avalon Wolves in the Varsity Level 4 Large Division.  Her team placed 2nd.   She is looking forward to returning to Pop Warner next year and challenges her team to WIN THAT TITLE IN 2020.

The Tri Town Raiders are a level 2 team. This Jr. Peewee Level 2 Medium team has girls ranging from grades 4 through 6. They are a part of Mid America region from Indiana and have 19 athletes. Many of the girls on their team have been cheering for 1 to 2 years. This year, they placed 1st at regionals. This, however, is not their first year at Nationals. Last year, they performed and came in 6th place. They cheer for their amazing football team every Saturday.  They participated in the  DoubleGood Popcorn fundraiser to raise money for their trip.  They are coached by Terra Lorenze, who has coached for three years.  

The Michigan City Wolves are a Jr. Peewee Level 2 Large team. They have 24 amazingly talented girls in grades 4th, 5th and 6th. They are a level 2 team, with most of the girls cheering for 1 to 4 years with Pop Qarner. This year, they placed 1st at regionals. Their coach, Carla Shepherd has been coaching for 15 years.  She has a granddaughter on the team.  They did fundraisers such as Double Good popcorn and butter braids. They worked extremely hard to get here and they couldn’t be happier. GO WOLVES!!!!


MID AMERICA REGION SPOTLIGHT - FRIDAY
The Independence Patriots JPW team are not just performing today, they also performed in the Dance Division on Thursday and placed 4th in JPW Pom - Way to go!!!
Coach Megan has been coaching for the past 11 years.  She coached her oldest daughter in the patriots team and is now coaching her youngest Daughter!  Coach Megan shared how exciting it is to watch the girls grow and develop with their cheerleading skills.  "Pop Warner provides a structured environment and creates an equal playing field for everyone.   We all have the same rules and follow the same guidelines.  One of my recommendations for new coaches is to just be patient, and get to know and understand the girls.  They each bring their own personalities to the team, and what works for one girl may not work for another girl."
Our team nickname (created by the girls) - is the Dinosaurs!!!   we have a team dinosaur that travels with us.



NEW ENGLAND REGION SPOTLIGHT - FRIDAY
The Dracut Middies are a New England Region Team with a lot of experience traveling to The Pop Warner National Cheer and Dance Competition. Head coach Sandra Russo has travel to nationals 12 out of her 13 years coaching. She knows how to prepare her Regional Champion Junior Pee Wee team of 18. While the team was practicing hard to make their mark here in Orlando, they also put a lot of effort into fundraising. The Double Good Popcorn sale, music bingo (google it, because it looks like a lot of fun) and canning all helped offset travel expenses.  Coach Russo said all aspects of getting to Orlando were easy because Dracut is a well run organization that works as a team. More importantly, Dracut and Pop Warner put the kids first and that’s what it’s all about for her too.  After spending a day at Hollywood Studios as a team, they are ready to take the mat. The coaches have confidence in their team and the girls work to control their nerves. They are reminded to never give up, be confident and that all it takes is one magic moment. Good Luck Dracut!

The Brookfield Bobcats team is in their first year of competitive Cheer. The team consists of mostly younger girls, with this also being a newly formed team. To watch these little dynamos, you don't see their nervousness because their excitement and adrenaline is what they protrude. They are simply happy to be here.
For the Bobcats, there is just no other organization for them other than Pop Warner. They will get the competitiveness that they seek, along with the rules and regulations that make Pop Warner the safest program around.
In order to get here to Nationals, the team "has literally done every kind of fundraiser." They participated in the highly successful Double Good Popcorn fundraiser, they hosted car washes, they made Sponsor t-shirts, and even put up a Go Fund Me account for anyone who wished to provide any amount of monetary donation.
The team has greatly enjoyed their experience here, taking in as many parks as they can, while team bonding this week.  They are hoping to leave here with the most important thing they can go home with..A.First Place trophy 


EASTERN REGION SPOTLIGHT - FRIDAY

As I met the coaches of Sayreville Jr Bombers they were partaking of the "lucky gum" tradition.  Stick of gum before the warm up mat is their tradition and lucky charm.  Head Coach Jessica Crimmins has been to Nationals before but for many of her team, it was a first time to Florida, let along the first time to Nationals.  When I asked them what they did to get this team here they all chorused "Patience!"  Then they went onto to explain how they made the practices fun for the team. "We did lots of games with them with competitions within the team."  The girls described for me their "Sass Queen" contest.  The girls had competitions within themselves for the sassiest attitudes on the floor.  The winner got to keep the trophy for the day. "And when you won it on Friday, you got to keep it for Friday, Saturday, Sunday and bring it back on Monday!"  The girls also explained that they were "a friendly team that worked very good together.  We are a family!"  The coaches agreed that as a team, these girls worked well together.  As the coaches have their gum tradition, the girls have a cheer tradition that they do before they take the mat which helps them "go all the way" to a title. 

The Delran Bears Coaches are not new to competing at Disney, although more tan half of this young team is.  So they have a number of superstitions they partake in for every competition.  "We have to give Lisa Moroski a hug."  starts Coordinator Debby Kahn.  "We have multiple sets of rosary beads.  One parent carries a statue of Mary.  We dress the same way for every competition, right down to the underwear." 
The Delran Bears have a rather unique style of coaching.  Debby explains, "Head coach is sort of in name only because we all are a part of each team.  They start to tune us out after a while but when we all say the same thing, it does start to sink in.  Then we have our SNTs." Brand new coaches with a new voice are referred to as shiny new toys and they can make an impact just because they are new voices. Last year, this team came down to Disney and did not place.  The retuning girls did not want to feel that way again.  But as Debby kept telling them, "You gotta want it more than we do.  We always want great things for you but placing at Nationals is something you gotta want to make it happen."


MID SOUTH REGION SPOTLIGHT - FRIDAY

Christy Craig is the head coach of the Lake Norman Giants, Jr. Pee Wee team.  This is her 8th season coaching and 5th season competing at the national championships.  It's been a very successful season, because they've received so much support from their association, community and league. 
Christy's team is practically brand new with only 5 returners. That has been a challenge, but her team is prepared and excited about their high energy routine. Christy's advice to new coaches is to "Be Prepared for Anything and Everything".  Also, she recommends implementing a fun practice rewards system that promotes positive participation.  This means each member should practice with a purpose.

THURSDAY JR REPORTER KATELYN BUTTIGLIERI

Katelyn is a 7 year veteran cheerleader with the Level 4 Varsity Team, competing on Thursday evening with the Avalon Wolves.  She has been on the National mat 5 times, placing 4th, 3rd and 2nd in the past.  She is looking for her first National Championship.  She enjoys assisting the younger teams with training and conditioning.
Introducing the Cleveland Rams from Cleveland North Carolina.  Coached by Kristi Benvenuto, they are competing on Friday in the Jr Pee Wee Level 1 Medium Division. They all agreed that their favorite part of the routine is the tumbling and the end of dance.  They have kept busy since they arrived on Sunday with practice and going to the parks and the favorite is Disney Hollywood Studios.  What they most enjoy about the Pop Warner season is meeting new people when practice starts and coming to Nationals at Disney as friends.
The Odell Eagles, from North Carolina is competing tomorrow in the Jr. Pee Wee  Level 2 Medium Division.  This is their 1st times ever making it to National.  The favorite part of the routing is the stunting.  They enjoyed wearing their team colors, Green, Black and White as they visited their favorite parks, the Animal Kingdom and the Magic Kingdom.  They are coached by Melissa Brown, who is coaching this team for the first time this year. 




THURSDAY JR REPORTER BELLA ISOLICA

Bella has cheered for the Avalon Wolves for the past 6 years.  She is competing on Thursday night in the Level 4 Large category with her 31 teamates.  Her team has not yet won a National title, placing 2nd, 3rd and 4th in the past.

The Oviedo Lions from Florida was not at Disney Wide World of Sports to compete at the National Cheer and Dance competition.  They came here today to cheer on their football team, playing today against the Panama Sharks in the International Division.  They are a Junior varsity level 2 Medium team.  They have competed at nationals  twice, the most recent being in 2018, when they placed 4th.  Their favorite part of the routine is the stunting, and love doing heel stretches.

All the way from Philadelphia, the home of Pop Warner, I spoke with the Northwest Raiders.  They competed today as a Pee Wee Hip Hop Team,, and competed on Sunday in the Level 2 Medium Division.  This is their 2nd trip to Nationals.  Their favorite part of the cheer routine is the dance, and they love performing their Hip Hop Routine.  They have had fun visiting the Hollywood Studios.



EASTERN REGION BROADCAST SPOTLIGHT
The North Rockland Red Raider JV team are no strangers to the National stage.  "They have been here and they have succeeded here as a Level 3." says head Coach Doreen Garrison.   "This year the question was - do we want another National Crown in Level 3 where we have been so dominant?  or do we want to challenge ourselves and go for Level 4."  In her mind there was no question.  She was ready to push her team. "We believe in challenging our participants as athletes and as people."  So she began early in the season.  "I started working on the team chemistry early in the season, figuring out what groups would work best together and make the strongest stunt teams."  From there, it was on going pursuit of next level skills, fueled by a good support system.  "We have developed a reputation as the place to be," Doreen explains. " Our parents understand the time and the commitment needed to succeed.  They are very supportive of what we do." 


MID AMERICA REGION BROADCAST SPOTLIGHT
Mokena Burros - We're Back for our 2nd time at Nationals.  We are hoping for a back to back win.  Mokena Burros joined Pop Warner in 2018.   They were National Champions their very first year.  They are hoping for a repeat in 2019.  Our Motto is - What happens as a team - we do it together!!!!   We are a team and a 2nd family.  We hang out with each other in practice and outside of practice.  We do volunteer work together, most recently working at a homeless shelter.   We love cheer, and many of us feel this is our life. We have such amazing coaches, who truly care about us and support us. They make us work hard, challenge ourselves, but it is all for a good reason.  It makes us a better cheerleader.  We have created a 2nd family for each of us. 
We wish the Mokena Burros good luck as they try for a back to back win!



WESCON REGION BROADCAST SPOTLIGHT

The Yoruba Linda Lady Jaguars is composed of mostly returning girls who have been to nationals multiple times. The girls have worked so hard for their coaches and themselves alike. They believe their coaches are the reason they have been so successful in returning each year. Throughout the year, they have overcome injuries and changes in their routine. With all their dedication and o themselves and each other they have overcome it and made it this far. For these girls, they are more than just a team, they are a family.

The Palos Verdes Mavericks are new to nationals. They have worked so hard to get here by practicing  and raising the funds. The hardest part of their season was combining both the JV and Varsity teams together. Both the coaches and girls have worked so hard to make this dream a reality and it definitely paid off.  The coaches are all so proud of their girls for overcoming all obstacles and making it here.



NEW ENGLAND REGION BROADCAST HIGHLIGHT
The Edgewood Eagles V3 Squad comes from an organization with many years of National Champions, with the dedicated staff putting in over 10 years into their program to make it into what you will see today. This team has pretty much risen through the ranks together, from Mitey Mite until now. They have formed lasting friendships, and while there are a few who will finally be moving on this year, they plan on keeping their family together for many years to come.
Edgewood is no stranger to fundraising, often with multiple teams coming down to Nationals every year. The usual cannings always help, but they begin their fundraising early with everything from cookie dough, to Yankee Candles and Soups. They participate in an annual SAVERS drive which not only helps the  community to get rid of items that they can donate, but also provides each team that participates a stipend for their efforts. The most popular fundraiser however, is their annual Calendar Raffle. In the month of December, a name gets picked daily with prizes ranging from gift cards to $300 on Christmas Day.
Edgewood's pinnacle is striving for success. They are proud of the Scholastic focus that Pop Warner requires, since each child has to maintain good grades to participate. The Staff knows that at the end of the day, your School Grades will play an important part of your future, and this is the main reason why they respect Pop Warner and hope to continue their Association for many years.

MID SOUTH BROADCAST SPOTLIGHT
Holly Byrd is a veteran National Cheer coach of 3 years with the Roger Bacon Academy Association. She has been very successful the last two seasons becoming possibly one, if not the only, Duo National Champion to win "Sideline & Cheer" Championships back to back. 
Holly would like to encourage new coaches to reinforce the fundamentals and make practices fun.  The teams biggest challenge has been losing 2 girls too injuries at regional and before national.   But this team is resilient and is stronger than ever!  Good Luck RBA!


NEW ENGLAND DANCE SPOTLIGHT
The Hamden Junior Dragon Varsity Hip Hop team are living the dream. The Dragons are a brand new Pop Warner association. Cheer Coordinator, Kim Howard said that there are so many different national cheer programs available to participate in but Pop Warner was the only choice for them. They love the opportunities that Pop Warner has to offer the kids. Pop Warner is such a well run organization and most of this 9 member varsity team and coaches came from other Pop Warner cheer programs. The transition was easy. 
Starting out as a new association comes with its own challenges. Qualifying for the Pop Warner National Cheer and Dance Championship presents a new set of challenges. Head coach, Melissa Bromell, kept the practices going while ensuring the girls got the most out of the planned fundraising. They are grateful for the support received from their town and parents. Additionally, the Double Good Popcorn fundraiser was a huge help in reaching their goal. They also enjoyed a paint night and donut sales. The team is having a great time here in the parks but now it’s time to focus on the goal. Coach Melissa is positive and knows just what to do to keep the girls calm. She reminds them that they are ready. It doesn’t matter what happens out on the mat because they are strong, invincible and already champions. Good luck today and in the  future Hamden! It’s going to be fun to watch your program grow!


MID AMERICA DANCE SPOTLIGHT
The Tri-Town Raiderettes are returning for the 9th year!!!   Most of them have been on the team for all nine of those years.
They are a dual team, and will perform Hip Hop and Pom. Tri Town is Coached by Ren Arvanitis.   Coach Ren is a Cincinnati Bengals Cheerleader!!!
The team held a team bonding outing and went to watch Coach Ren during one of the football games.  They had an exciting time.   Such a great opportunity to have a coach that cheers in the NFL.  Unfortunately, Coach Ren had to leave to return to Indiana for Bengal Practice and NFL game but she did get to see us practice before she left. Tri-Town will be performing for the Cincinnati Bengals on December 29th.  The team sent in a video and was selected to perform during the football game (go tri-town). We have had such a busy week here while being at Disney. We are staying at the Caribbean Beach Resort.   Visiting the parks, practicing for our two events.   When we return home, we have practice for another event, and then we will have Dress Rehearsal for the Bengals Game. We have been practicing and preparing for Nationals.   We took First Place at Districts and First Place at Regionals.   We would love to have first place here at Nationals, for either Pom or Hip Hop, maybe both!!!! The girls love Coach Ren and all the other coaches that support them. " They have helped us grow over the past years and become the dancers we are today"   Go Raiderettes!!


MID SOUTH DANCE SPOTLIGHT

The head coach of the Apex Cougars is Amanda Jobes.  She is one of our veteran coaches with 6 years of experience, 3 years at the theme dance level.  She has a small team this year, but the bonus is her girls are returners that cheer dance together.  She would like to encourage other coaches to participate in theme dance. However, she strongly recommends choosing fun routines and the that the team can manage its props.


Virginia Eagles head coach is Nicole Jefferson.  This is Nicole's 3rd season coaching and her 2nd time competing at the National Cheer & Dance Championships. She is very passionate about the Hip-Hop division, because it allows her creativity and freedom of expression.  The best part of coaching the division is letting the girls add their flavor to the routines.  Her biggest challenge faced this year is with having small team. They had to continually creating opportunities to keep the girls motivated, giving them confidence to compete.   
Their motto is "We Lead Other Follow"



WESCON REGION DANCE SPOTLIGHT

The Fontana Bulldogs, like most of Fontana’s teams, have been to nationals multiple times. Their coaches are a mother daughter duo who decided to work together to give back to their community. The coaches put so much time and energy into the routines. The team believes their accomplishment is all thanks to their coaches and everyone’s hard work. The girls all agreed that their favorite part of the routine is little sally walker. The girls had fun with their routine and put it all out on the floor. The girls worked so hard between fundraising and practices, and their coaches are very proud. They have lost and gained girls throughout coaching, but they have pulled through. Both coaches are not only inspired by each other, but they are also inspired every day by their cheerleaders.

The Chino Colts are not new to nationals. They are here because they have worked hard and pushed through the most difficult challenges. The team is small, made up on only 5 girls, which has been a challenge. Even with such a small team, they still placed with their cheer routine and did incredible in their dance. Their coach is also the cheer coordinator and the girls believe it is all thanks to her that they have come this far. The ending of their dance is their favorite part of the routine.


MID AMERICA DANCE SPOTLIGHT
Memorial Park
is making its 6 return to NationalsThey are a dual team, doing both Theme and Hip-Hop. Coach Sharneice has been coaching with Memorial Park for many years.  Prior to Coach Sharneice being the head coach, her mother was a coach with Memorial Park. Coach is now following in her moms footsteps. We are hoping to place today.  We have two routines, one is hip-hop and one Theme.  Our Theme dance is the Adams Family.  In the beginning, the girls did not want to perform "the Adams family" as they were afraid the spectators would not recognize the theme.  They quickly found out at Chicagoland Conference - everyone was aware of the Theme.  Coach Sharneice feels that pop warner is a great place for not only coaches, but girls as well.  It is a very structured program, all the rules are outlined, and the academics keep the kids accountable.  
Memorial Park - Have fun!



EASTERN REGION DANCE SPOTLIGHT

The Indian River Warrior Varsity Pom Team is a fun loving, very open and friendly group.  When I met the team, they had to corral Taylor from talking to new friends she had just made on another team.  Taylor Laidlaw is aging out this year and is trying to soak in every moment of Nationals this year. Taylor will tell you that going to cheer camp this year was a wonderful start to the season.  "It was great team bonding experience and they really are able to get the new members of this experienced team up to speed very quickly."  From then on, the team worked well together, taking suggestions from each other and helping each other learn and grow. Head Coach Suzanne Schwedler agrees with the importance of team bonding.  "It has been critical to the growth of this team."  she says.  They have done sleep overs and other activities outside of school and cheer to bring the team closer together.  "It definitely has helped as we dealt with injuries and changes all season.  I don't think we have been able to do this routine the same way at any competition this season." Suzanne credits Association Coordinator Sue Adams as her mentor and the heart and soul of this team.  "She is everything to them. She has done everything for this team and they would not be where they are without her guidance." 

It's all about family with the Rochester Rams JV Hip Hop team.  "I got a couple sisters on this team,"  says Head Coach Kassidy McGill.  "I got some cousins on here, I got cousins to the President, I am the daughter of the coordinator, my sister coaches another team.  It means we already have a good relationship with the kids and know how best to motivate them.  I can always tell them I know your mom!"  It also helps them to already be familiar with the organization and what is expected of the participants.  Many of the parents are former participants themselves. 
Kassidy says the secret to returning to Disney year after year is trying to improve the team from year to year.  "Challenge each team to be better than last year,"  she says.  She coaches JV every year so whenever new ones come up, they are expected to rise to the new level.  "And we really try to think outside the box, we think unusual instead of usual."This is a very experienced team this year and the kids will tell you that their winning formula is keeping their focus on their goals.  They take their dance very seriously and do not put up with anyone who doesn't want to give it their all. 

The Rochester Dolphin organization is just a couple years old.  But they set their sites high!  "We have three teams, next year our goal is to have them all down here" says the coaching staff.  After getting two teams down this year, they know what it takes to get all three into Nationals. The coaches enjoy the structure provided by Pop Warner.  "We like having some rules and guidelines to follow.  It makes things so much easier to start up an organization."  Actually the staff had experience with Pop Warner in the past so they were happy to be returning.  Head Coach Veronique Joseph was a former Pop Warner participant herself with a dream of coming to Disney. The team began with 15 this season but only 5 were able to make the trip.  They were not concerned about their size - they like their routine a lot and enjoy performing it.  And they like their Head Coach very much -"She is very nice, we like her.  But she is very firm!"  

WESCON REGION SPOTLIGHT - WEDNESDAY
The South Coast Tritons are comprised of returners and new girls, both of which are new to nationals. The coaches believe the girls’ teamwork is the largest contributing factor to them reaching nationals. The girls are all very close and work well together. The coaches 

have known each other for years and chose to coach because they believed in their girls. The team did have some difficulty throughout the year with them having lost girls and having to change the routine. The Tritons favorite part of their routine is their stunting, specifically their show and go. The coaching staff all agree that Pop Warner is a great program with incredible values for the children. They love the emphasis on education and the way the girls get both the sideline and competition experience. As new coaches, the Tritons coaches advice to other new coaches would be to be patient, prepared, selfless, and ask as many questions as needed. For this coaching staff, their girls have inspired them to do such. They are so proud of their girls and they should be. Congratulations on placing ladies!

MID AMERICA REGION SPOTLIGHT - WEDNESDAY
Naperville Chargers are from Mid America and coached by Katelyn Burns. This is their first trip to Disney, coaches and girls.  A new experience for the coaches and the girls.  
Coach Katelyn was also a Pop Warner cheerleader for Naperville and then continued to cheer through High School.   She loves seeing the girls develop, grow and love cheerleading.  She feels Pop Warner is the place to allow this to happen.  With the focus on Academics as well as sports, it makes it very well rounded program. She feels she gets the support she needs from her organization and everyone is there for her. Coach Katelyn says to "have patient with the girls and sometimes you just  "need to roll with it".    Her team of 10 girls expressed how wonderful and awesome the coaches are. Welcome to Nationals Naperville!

Knox Redskins from Northern Indiana are making their first appearance at  Pop Warner Nationals.  Knox Redskins chose  the Core division this year.  Coach Kristen said it was great, as it contained all the fundamentals of cheer, along with the choreography.   "We were allowed to start on our routine early, work through it with the girls, and in the end was able to perform a great routine. We were able to prefect the routine and had great guidance along the way.  I would recommend this for any first time coach, or any coach that is not familiar with creating routines"  Coach Kristen loves watching the girls grow and develop while learning to cheer.   She feels Pop Warner is the place to do this as there is a great focus on Little Scholars.  It helps motivate the girls to do well in school as well as Cheer competitions. Tonight after the competition, we are going to relax and have a pool party.


SOUTHEAST REGION SPOTLIGHT - WEDNESDAY
One Team, One Dream! The Palm City Dolphins Mitey Mite Show Cheer Team is one to watch. The success and strength of a program continue to grow when the participants come back as coaches. Well, this is the case for Coach Summer.  She has diligently cheered for multiple Pop Warner levels.  She is now the head coach of 27 Mitey Mite cheerleaders. The magic of this team doesn’t happen with just one coach.  Summer has five volunteers on the coaching staff, one of which happens to be her father. Just watching this father-daughter duo interact with this group of funny and hard-working girls was inspirational.  Just watching this father-daughter duo interact with this group of funny and hard-working girls was inspirational. Coach Pat cannot talk about how proud he is of this team without getting choked up. According to Coach Summer, the team is super excited to be performing at Nationals this year. “The girls have worked extremely hard all season, which paid off at Regionals,” said coach Summer. Motivating and keeping these many girls together can be challenging, but they make it work. They have a funny and creative way to keep the girl’s emotions and stunts tight, which has worked throughout the season and is being carried on for Nationals. You can tell when someone cheerfully makes the statement because the team starts to laugh. The Palm City Dolphins Mitey Mite move as one. The coaches feel fortunate to have supportive parents who treat each other like one family. When you add coach Pat to the equation, it is the best example of role modeling anyone could ask to have. The magic of the team doesn’t happen with just one coach.

First time for everything!  The Belleview Rattlers Junior Varsity Show Cheer has taken the statement literally.  The team maybe few in numbers but they are large in spirit and heart. Pop Warner must be running through the veins of the head coach because she came to the Southeast Region from another Region and was determined to continue volunteering.  This chatty group of young ladies loves to laugh just a much as they love cheerleading and dance. While talking to the girls, I noticed they were making a video for Savannah. I then asked if it was a cheerleader who was injured. They told me, “We sent a message to Coach Savannah because we miss her and wishes she was here!” Coach Chrystal informed me that Coach Savannah had been ill and was unable to make. 2019 was the Rattlers' first time at Regionals and they made it to Nationals. The excitement of being here didn’t overwhelm this team. The girls really wanted coach Savannah to be a part of the experience. Coach Chrystal and Coach Amanda informed the girls that Coach Savannah was her with them because she is always in their hearts. This delightful team started mimicking all this Coach Savannah would say before a performance. What a way to bring Coach Savannah to Nationals. The girls discussed they were always together which seemed to be an important aspect of the family unit. The spirit of the Southeast Region shines brightly in this team. Go Rattlers!


When life gives you lemons, make lemonade! The Boca Braves Junior Pee Wee Core Cheer Team was able to make all flavors thanks to their head coach Shawna When life tried to stop her from doing the things she fought back. With the best set of coaches ever such as Shannon, team parent Aileen, and her sister Krystle, she was able to make the 2019 Pop Warner season memorable.  Her enthusiasm and courageousness are infectious.  Coach Shawna and Krystle are both first time coaches who stepped up to help the team.  To continue with the first, the team won first place at the Regional competition as well as receiving the award for the highest score for Core cheer.  The stellar performance at Regionals earned them a spot at Nationals. “I can’t fully participate at all times, but I am always there in spirit, and they are always in my heart,” said coach Shawna.   With that kind of passion coach, Krystle wanted to support her sister’s dream by being an assistant coach.  She too has a full life, which includes a full-time job, school, and being a single parent.  “My day-to-day can be strenuous at times, but with great time management skills, I am still a Pop Warner volunteer," said coach Krystal. The powerful and positive temperament of the team shows a cohesiveness of their bond.  The team used their bond to conduct multiple fund raiser to make sure they would make it to Disney.  They were able to get a sponsor to fund the entire trip to Nationals. All that I can say is “Lemonade!” Boca Braves Strong! 

Oftentimes, we hear about inspirational coaches that are making a difference in the lives of their athletes. The coach is a mentor, motivator, change maker and sometimes a parent when need be. A coach that can speak and bring the entire room to tears, because of the love the team shares for each other. The team pulls from the truth in the words of the coach and perform like the entire world is watching. The Richmond Perrine Giants Varsity Pom Dance  Team has that coach and is that team. Most of this three-time National champion in Theme team has been together for five years. The Giants decided to shake things up for the 2019 season by performing as a Pom team. When asking coach Michelle why she decided to switch she said, “The first year coaching this team we declared Pom. To get my team out of their shyness, the next season, I decided to declare Theme dance. Theme dance requires acting out a scene.  Acting seemed to be the cure, and it would only be for two minutes and thirty seconds.” The team consists of half veterans and the other half new participants include two males. Sadly, most of the team will age out this season, so coach Michelle wanted to make it count. While waiting to hit the floor at Nationals, coach Michelle gave an inspirational speech that brought the team and coaches to tears. She started by saying, how proud she is of the team, how she will always be there for them, encouraged them to stay humble, and how coming together as a team has made them top-notch. The Giant's strategy for being champions starts with studying the opponent, hard work, and training.  Coach Michelle also keeps the team from using social media outlets, which keeps the team focused. The Richmond Perrine Giants Varsity Pom Team are winners no matter what!



MID SOUTH REGION SPOTLIGHT - WEDNESDAY
For Bennet's Creek's head coach Aynsley Bennett, this is a new experience, as it is her first time at Nationals.  She takes their motto "Warrior Proud" seriously.  Aynsley focused throughout the season on blending practices, to support their football team and preparing for competitions. This worked very well as they have achieved their seasonal goal of competing at Nationals.  Their entire season has been overwhelming, but the girls excitement and love of the sport has made it all worth it.  In closing, she prepared a dynamic and championship routine with amazing stunt groups that will make every proud. 


NEW ENGLAND REGION SPOTLIGHT - WEDNESDAY
The Chelmsford Cougars are back this year, and better than ever! This team consists mostly of returning girls that attended Nationals in 2018, with the exception of a few new teammates. They have worked hard this year despite new Staff changes and the disappointment from last year to get here and they are in it to win it!
This year they had a vast array of fundraisers to get funds needed to travel. Their most popular Fundraiser this year was their Flocking Fundraiser, in which they were able to incorporate their Football program, setting them up to be the ones who get Flocked.   This brought the entire Community together, and they have really rallied to support both financially and emotionally.
When asked what the team has enjoyed doing since their arrival, they responded that they have been relaxing for now, doing team bonding in anticipation for today. Once they compete, the girls are ready to hit the parks!

The Edgewood Eagles V3 Squad comes from an organization with many years of National Champions, with the dedicated staff putting in over 10 years into their program to make it into what you will see today. This team has pretty much risen through the ranks together, from Mitey Mite until now. They have formed lasting friendships, and while there are a few who will finally be moving on this year, they plan on keeping their family together for many years to come.
Edgewood is no stranger to fundraising, often with multiple teams coming down to Nationals every year. The usual cannings always help, but they begin their fundraising early with everything from cookie dough, to Yankee Candles and Soups. They participate in an annual SAVERS drive which not only helps the  community to get rid of items that they can donate, but also provides each team that participates a stipend for their efforts. The most popular fundraiser however, is their annual Calendar Raffle. In the month of December, a name gets picked daily with prizes ranging from gift cards to $300 on Christmas Day.
Edgewood's pinnacle is striving for success. They are proud of the Scholastic focus that Pop Warner requires, since each child has to maintain good grades to participate. The Staff knows that at the end of the day, your School Grades will play an important part of your future, and this is the main reason why they respect Pop Warner and hope to continue their Association for many years.

The Mount Hope Cowboys Varsity Sideline Squad has already proven success with their Performance Cheer First Place win in 2019. Though this is a newly formed squad,the Staff of Mount Hope haven proven multiple times over the past few years that they can coach National Champion Teams. With the girls' determination to win this year, they are hoping to place in their first year of Sideline Performance.
The entire Mount Hope Community has participated in the many fundraising efforts to get the girls here. From bake sales, to raffle tickets, to multiple cannings, the team has been rallied around by their community with an outpouring of support.
Mount Hope has been with the Pop Warner program for many years. While there are other Football programs out there, the Competition within Pop Warner is second to none. The fact that Pop Warner has a Scholastic focus that benefits all children and pushes them to strive academically, is just an added bonus. Mount Hope feels confident that  they will enjoy many more years to come with Pop Warner.


EASTERN REGION SPOTLIGHT - WEDNESDAY

"Move like a snake"  the team likes to say.  But Head Coach Asia Mahammad of the Oak Lane Wildcats JV squad, will tell you that you won't find a nicer group of girls to coach.  "They love what they do."  This group of 9 has 5 members who are returning to Disney this year.  Those returners were very supportive of the new girls.  "And the new girls take direction from the returners so well.  They understand they are trying to help and they do a lot of work outside of practice with each other."  Both coaches are relatively young and understand that they are role models for their team.  "they look up to us and try to give them more than just cheer.  We want them to succeed in life.  And they are so coachable - they are easy to teach."  To get back to Disney this year, Asia explained their secret was proper planning.  "in the past, we often didn't get chance to think too much about our competitive routine until after most of football season was done.  This year we planned the routine out early and knew what we wanted to do."   One of the other things the team did early in the season was a team bonding activity.  "Girls and Pearls - we dressed up and rented a place and had all sorts of fun and got to know each other outside of cheer."  said Asia.  "It started our season out strong and we came together as a team very early." 

Being it is the first year that Mitey Mites could compete, the coaches for the Hazlet Starz thought trying the new Core division might a good way to go.  The emphasis on the fundamentals and basics seemed to make a lot of sense.  Association Coordinator Colleen Deran said it was a good way to go but she wishes the division had included some kind of basic tumbling too.  "Even if it had been forward rolls, since tumbling in general has become such a part of cheerleading, it would have nice to have included some kind of tumbling in the routine. And this team really likes to tumble."  The part they found the most challenging was teaching the stunting.  "It was a small team of 8 so you didn't have a lot of options for positions."  The other challenge to keep from making the routine feel too repetitive.  "You never want the kids to get bored with doing the same things over and over so it was important to find ways to keep it fresh." 
As for the kids, they have enjoyed a little time at parks yesterday. The Frozen ride received a very enthusiastic review from many.  And others are looking forward to going to Animal Kingdom.  Colleen has been the Hazlet Coordinator for 24 years and has fought the fight to keep Hazlet with Pop Warner.  "Pop Warner is first class all the way."  she says.  "We felt the other organizations would like to be Pop Warner.  But there is reason Pop Warner has been around so long.  They do it right." 

When East Greenbush Mitey Mite was looking for a song for their theme dance, the coaches started with Disney ideas. "How can you go wrong picking Disney themes for this age?"  says the coaches. "And they have really had fun with this one."  Under the Sea did prove to be a winner with the team and the judges this year.  And Head Coach Casey Lemons credited her association with  the help and guidance she needed to lead this team to Nationals.  "This is not new to my coordinator and she was a huge help to get this team ready to compete."  She is excited to have her team perform at Nationals.  "We really took the judges advice to heart and acted on their suggestions.  They asked for a little more choreography in some places and little more pizazz.  So we added some additional choreography and we are very excited about
the lights we added on our umbrellas" 

Coach Patricia Grant of the Hillside Jr Comets readily admits that the new Core division and Sideline division are responsible for her team being at Nationals for both divisions.  "This sideline division allows us to perfect the skills we use all season as well as the skills they will probably use in high school - to lead the crowds and not worry about paying for music and all the other stuff associated with competition cheer."  
Patricia and her staff credit their season success to focusing a lot on technique.  "Seems like we are always saying point your toes!"  And that is another reason this division works for them.  "But by the same token, I want them the enjoy themselves.  It's important to me that they have fun."  She describes her team as very hard working and very dedicated.  When they found out they qualified for Disney and after the shock wore off, they got to work.  "They bagged a lot of groceries."  said Coach Patricia.  "That pretty much paid for everything - a lot of groceries."  The team has not had the chance to get to the parks yet.  But they are looking forward to the party tonight and taking the opportunity tomorrow to explore the parks.  "Most of the team has never been here.  So this is very exciting for them." 

WESCON REGION SPOTLIGHTS - TUESDAY
The Temecula Valley Bears came to Florida this year in hopes of winning their 3rd consecutive national title. With a team almost entirely made of returners they had a more than fair shot. The Bears have had the same coaching staff for both previous victories, and when asked what the biggest contribution to their advancement was they said it was the overall teamwork. The head coach, Kristen, believes that the repetition put into their practice made all the difference when it comes down their routines, along with maximizing their skill level.

The most difficult challenge they had to overcome this year was losing girls and having to change their routine. Kristen became a coach because of her family being involved in Pop Warner, but also because of its values. Pop Warner allows personal growth for the coaches and children alike. Patricia, Temecula’s VP for cheer, loves seeing the girls learning together and the way Pop Warner promotes education. Assistant coach, Jackie, began with Pop Warner because of her daughter and continues because of the incredible atmosphere. She says she loves how inclusive it is of everyone and she believes that she not only teaches the girls, but learns from them as well. When asked what advice they would give a new coach, they both had some great answers. Kristen said consistency is very important! You must always encourage the kids and put your own ego aside. Jackie, on the other hand, said as hard as it may be you must be patient because things can change so quickly and you have to roll with the punches. Also, when asked about her mentor she named her head coach Kristen saying she had taught her much patience, never to give up, and says “She’s been my rock for sure.” The coaches are proud of what they have accomplished with their girls. “I am so proud of how hard they’ve worked, the obstacles they’ve overcome, and how they’ve worked as a team.” -Kristen this team has a motto “We not Me” and it’s seemed to pay off considering they’re victory tonight taking home a 3rd consecutive national title! Congrats ladies!

The Torrey Pines Falcons are a new team this year compiled of girls who have never cheered before. This year was a difficult one between only having 5 girls on the team and all of them having no experience. Head coach, Kristy, would have her work cut out for her to make it to nationals and place. Kristy has been coaching since 1991 and cheered herself before that. She chose Pop Warner because of the opportunity she has to teach impressionable children values and skills while they are strongly encouraged to focus on their education. Assistant coach, Lisa, is as new to cheer as her team and joined the coaching staff because her daughter is in the team. As a coach and mother of her cheerleader, she is also a huge fan of Pop Warner making education a priority. As a coach of 28 years, Kristy believes that any new coach should definitely have patience. Every year is different and you never know what is going to happen, so you must keep calm and work with what you have. As a new coach, Lisa says it always helps to have someone who knows what they’re doing to help guide you. Lisa was quick to say that Kristy was her mentor because while they have become closer she has continued to teach her more about cheer and she is impressed by her dedication to the girls. Kristy had a similar mentor, Amy (Palomar LCDC), because she continually helps her through problems she faces and they are very close. These girls, with the odds against them as a 5 person team, went on the floor and gave it their all. 

The West Covina Bulldogs came with a mix of returning and completely new cheerleaders. They are  very committed to each other and their practices. They have joint practices at an outside gym with they’re Pewee team that places first on Sunday.The team favorites their ending dance in their routine. When asked why they chose to coach for Pop Warner, the coaches agreed that the answer was simple. They do it to give back to the community and inspire the young girls. They all love how Pop Warner promotes education, structure, and their city, specifically, shows their support by helping pay the way to nationals. The coaches believe that Pop Warner has lots of opportunities for the girls. For any future coaches, the Bulldog coaching staff says the key is to take it step-by-step and appreciate the good and the bad times. Relationships are bound to form either way, so just have fun. Assistant coach, Desiree says her mom, the West Covina cheer coordinator, is her inspiration because she has coached for so long, without children on the team, to inspire the girls. Brianna, the other  assistant coach, says her inspiration is Desiree because she cares for and gives to the girls, and is always there to help her out. In order for the team to attend nationals, they did some fundraising and with the combination of donations, conference, and parents succeeded in making it. The biggest obstacle the team faced on their way to nationals was moving to a higher difficulty level with new girls on the team, but they seemed to overcome that obstacle considering their first place trophy they received. According to the Bulldogs, their success comes from the family-like bond. The teamwork and support from one another is what made this team so strong. Congratulations on placing ladies!


EASTERN REGION SPOTLIGHT - TUESDAY

"This team gets along so well with each other, our biggest challenge is to get them to stop talking to each other!"  explain the coaches from A&M Redbirds with a chuckle.  "this team just really bonded from the beginning.  They are just some of the sweetest, kindest kids you will ever meet."  When asked what her key to success in coaching is, Head Coach Melanie Margolin says "Patience is key with this age. And don't expect them all to learn at the same speed.  They will all learn at different speeds. But that doesn't mean they can't all learn how to be cohesive team.  And don't be afraid to push them  they are capable of handling more than you think they are."  Her coaches also add  "just remember how young they are and how much they still want to please you.  Also listen to them - sometimes they have good ideas.  "  And their final words - be prepared for anything! The kids will tell you that their favorite part of the routine is the heel stretch stunt that they helped develop.  "They didn't like how we were having them transitioning into the stunt.  They had a better suggestion and we liked it too. So that's what we are doing.  It has become their favorite part and they are proud of their contribution to their routine."

"A bunch of sassy little kids" is how Head Coach Yana Pillotti describes the Clay Panthers Mitey Mite team. But she says it much love affection in her voice.  "They are all little mini me's " she laughs "Not sure if that is good or bad but that's what they are."  Yana credits her mentors, her mother Jen and Clay Coordinator Cheryl Berube towards helping her prepare as a coach.  Lots of questions and ideas and support were always there.  As for her secret for getting here team here?  "I pushed them like there was not tomorrow!  I just keep pushing them and pushing them."  Her one of her biggest challenges was getting the over their fear of being upside down.  "Some of them were terrified of being upside down so simple tumbling was almost impossible.  That took a lot of work."  Her other problem was separation anxiety by both the parents and the kids..  "I had to find the parent's trust in leaving their kids with me for a couple hours.  And the kids' trust in staying with me for a couple hours without their parents right there."  Yana chuckles when she remembers how nervous the team was at their first competition.  "They were absolutely terrified."  she says "But they went out there and knocked it out of the park."

Watertown Giants JV are the first team from their organization to ever make it to Nationals and they are thrilled to be here!  Head Coach Caressa Flowers admitted "It was all a little overwhelming to be honest to hear them call our name.  But our league was so helpful in answering our questions and getting us here."  This little team of 8 has been together pretty much since their Mitey Mite days and has progressed over the years to a solid Level 2.  They had tried Level 2 before, went down to Level 1 and told the coaches they wanted to be able to do "basket tosses and fun stuff."  So the coaches gave them a challenging Level 2 routine and pushed them  "Not doing the skills was not ever an option."  explained the coaches.  "We knew they could do it, they just had to try."  The team responded to the pushing.  "Our coaches wouldn't let us say no"  For their part, the team found the warm up area "a little scary-there is so much going on!"  But they got onto the warm up mats and found their groove.  And when their backstage nerves started to get them, they had a little fun backstage with Reuben from YCADA.  Just what this little team needed!

ONE STRONG CHEERLEADER
1 year ago a week before school started we noticed 3 large patches of hair missing from Avas hair, a cheerleader from Bridgeport Raritan JPW. Being a hairdresser I knew exactly what it was and what it meant for my 9 year old daughter.  After taking her to the doctor they confirmed my fears, she had alopecia and would most likely lose all her hair. For a 9 year old child this news was Devastating ! She wanted to crawl in a hole and give up everything. Especially cheer that she had been doing since she was 5 years old. After all cheerleading has the highest ponytails and the prettiest girls in a 9 year olds mind she no longer could check either box. ( she was still so beautiful). Within time she became comfortable not only in a wig that took us forever to get it to stay on during tumbling and flying but in her own skin again. She never gave up, she never let this disease take anything she loved away from her. The mat and the girls and coaches on it were her family they excepted and loved her for exactly who she was.  She no longer even wears her wig to practice , the only place out of the house she ever takes it off. Cheer life hasn't just taught her how to tumble and fly its taught her she can get through anything in life with the right people standing by her.



SOUTHEAST REGION SPOTLIGHTS - TUESDAY
"The best way to cheer yourself up is to try to cheer somebody else up.” -Mark Twain The quote could not be truer for the Tamiami Colts Mitey Mite Show Cheer Team!   For this team, it starts at the top.  Coach Anaisse has been cheerleading since she was five years old.  Even being a football mom for twelve years didn’t stop the passion and heart of cheerleading.  She followed her heart back to cheerleading right into the arm of the Tamiami Colts.  Little did she know there was someone with the same spirit for cheerleading in the same area.  Coach Adi has been cheerleading for a long time.  She has been training some of the girls since they were three years old. That training leads them to Pop Warner to continue working with coach Adi. The Tamiami Colts Mitey Mite team is a group of spunky and tenacious young ladies with a love for what they do and each other.   This team consists of many spirited personalities that can make for an interesting day, but the girls will always come together as one to assure a fabulous performance. The love for cheerleading that is an exhibit by the coaches shows in their patience, caring demeanor and perseverance. Watching the girls interact with each other demonstrates the type of role models the coaches are to the team. The positivity overflows onto the parents who have been very supportive. According to coach Anaisse, the girls work and move like sisters. This type of love and passion for each other makes this team fearless!

SOUTHWEST REGION SPOTLIGHT - TUESDAY
The Holy Cross Knights Mitey Mites are from San Antonio TX. This is their very first time being here at the National Event. They are really excited about being here. While here, they haven’t visited any parks yet, but plans to real soon. The biggest challenge...coaching her granddaughter. She didn’t want to show favoritism and play grandmother at the same time. Coach Georgina has a passionate for coaching and goes above and beyond for her squad. The team raised money by plate sales and much more. Their favorite part of the routine is the three walk overs and shoulder shake at the end of the routine. When asked what advice would you give a new coach, her answer was “PASSIONATE”. They are a very strong, solid team with true friendship between them. Their team motto is “Forget The Rest, You Know Who’s Best” Good Luck Knights!!


MID AMERICA REGION SPOTLIGHTS - TUESDAY
Welcome to Disney Hoffman Estates Mitey Mite! They were able to watch their sister team perform take 5th place on Sunday, making them even more excited than they already were.  While here, the have been visiting all of the parks had having a fun time here in Disney.  They are really excited about the Pop Warner Party tonight.
This group of 14 young ladies thank their coaches for all the time they put in and spend with them.  Welcome to Florida Hoffman!


We are the Lockport Jr. Porters from Mid-America
We are having so much fun. We have been to Disney World and tonight we are going to the Pop Warner Party at Animal Kingdom.  We are staying at Caribbean Beach.  We did a lot of fundraising to get here, but it was fun and all worth it.
We have 11 girls on our squad.   An interesting fact - There are 3 sets of sisters on our team. 
Our practices are hard.  Our coaches only want the best for us.  They teach us what cheerleading is all about. Stunting and jumps are the favorites.   We cheer football games and we have cheer captains for the games. 
Welcome to Nationals Lockport!
For the Southlake Red Devils, it is their first time to Disney!!!
"We are having so much fun with our coaches.   We are visiting the parks and swimming and enjoying the Florida weather - as it is cold in Indiana!!!  The team can not say enough about their coaches. They love how honest the coaches are with them and feels it helps make them stronger.  Their favorite part of their season before Disney...The Princess Gala!
The coaches just love cheerleading, and love teaching the sport. Their advice to new coaches is not to be afraid to ask for help.  It is alright to need support.  Good luck Southlake!


MID SOUTH REGION SPOTLIGHTS - TUESDAY
APEX Cougar's head coach Danielle Ferenz, unfortunately could not make the trip to Florida with her team this week, but she more than prepared this team for their moment to shine.  The teams biggest challenge has been making adjustments in routines and practicing out doors. But you would never know by watching them!  They have bonded as a team and are ready to make Coach Danielle proud.  Good Luck Cougars!

Tiara Eley is the head coach of our Smithfield Packer Jr. Varsity team.  Motivated by her former Pop Warner coach, she stepped up to restart and create the Smithfield Cheer program 4 years ago.  Since then she has been able to compete at Nationals 3 out of 4 years. Her biggest challenge has been fundraising and trying to get the community more involved in the sport, so girl can be more prepared to compete at the next level of cheerleading.



For head coach of the Wilmington Eagles, Whitney Hall, this is her first time attending the National Cheer Championship.  She has been coaching 3 seasons and is a former Pop Warner cheerleader.  During their journey to Disney the toughest challenge she faced was losing 2 girls prior to the competition.  This required her to adjust routines 2 separate days and on short notice.  She recommends coaching to all "its the most rewarding thing" having girls hug you and to know you care.




NEW ENGLAND REGION SPOTLIGHTS - TUESDAY
The Winchester Sachems Mitey Mite team is a brand new team with all but 5 girls never having cheered before. This is a special team. At this young age, they have already formed an unbreakable bond that will carry them through their many years left with Pop Warner Cheer. Unfortunately, this team had to experience a loss of one of their own, who is unable to compete today, but is still here to support her team despite having a medical emergency just a short time ago. These girls and their Community have supported their friend and her family, and are most grateful that their teammate will be ok.
As always, it takes a village to get a team down to Nationals, and Fundraisers are depended on to help. The Sachems have had great success with the Double Good Popcorn fundraiser, ticket raffles, among other things. This team is lucky because they have Student Demo staff that have had previous National experience and they have been instrumental in guiding the younger girls through the season, especially with fundraising efforts.
The team has been doing various things since their arrival. They have even had a Wolfgang Puck Team Dinner, but if you ask them what their absolute best experience has been so far, they will all agree that their trip to WaWa has been the highlight! They are also looking forward to visiting the parks and the Party coming up.

The Milford Eagle Junior Varsity are excited to be attending The Pop Warner National Cheer and Dance Championships. Head coach Lauren Janis has been coaching for nine years. This isn’t her first time here. She knows what to expect and how to prepare this team and f 18 girls. Once they qualified to attend, they started fundraising. They put their time into a sip and shop, shirt sponsors and               The team has been here since Saturday. They’ve  had time to spend in the parks. Space Mountain and The Rocking Rollercoaster. They say it’s been fun. Today, they are all about having their best day. They want to be clean and exciting. The coaches want them to come off the mat feeling good about their performance and enjoy the moment. 

The Chicopee Braves are thrilled you be competing for a national title at the Pop Warner Cheer and Dance Championship. Head Coach Micelle Schultzki, is amazed by the experience. It’s her first time here and she couldn’t be more excited. 
The road to nationals was a busy one. They are here with the Pee Wee team. They put a lot of effort into fundraising. The most successful were canning and a gofundme. 
Now that they are here, they have been enjoying the parks but today is about being the best that they can be. Their coaches just want them to enjoy the moment and have a clean routine. They remind the team that they have put in the work. It time to feel the excitement and have fun. Anything after that doesn’t matter.



THANK YOU YCADA 
A special Thank you to YCADA  for their continued support of Pop Warner.  Each National Championship Team receives a full paid BID to YCADA Globals being held in Atlantic City February 7th - 9th, 2020.  





SOUTHWEST REGION SPOTLIGHTS - MONDAY
The Northeast Vikings, from San Antonio TX, are not new to the National Championship. They know what to expect and are ready to compete. We had the pleasure of talking to the Northeast Vikings Varsity team. When asked what the favorite part of their routine is....EVERYTHING “We love our routine”. They are very excited to be here and their favorite park to visit is Hollywood Studios. This AWESOME team is head coached by Lora Amick. These girls know what they have accomplished to be here. These rock stars know how to handle their fame!! They are more than just a team-they are a family! 
Good luck Northeast Vikings!

MID SOUTH REGION SPOTLIGHTS - MONDAY
For head coach Sherrell King of the Ragsdale Steelers, her team motto is "Steelers Bring the Steel". This is the Steelers first season in Pop Warner and Sherrell's  first time as a head coach. Its been a very emotional journey for her and the staff to accomplish this goal in such a short time.  She believes in giving each and every girl a chance to compete at all cost.  Unselfishly, coach King works two jobs , but you wouldn't know it because she is at every practice. Additionally the coaches believe in team bonding and treat the girls as their very own children. The Steelers biggest challenge has been finances and developing community bonds and support. But they did it!  The made it to the National Championships.  Good Luck Steelers!


Taylor Moore of the Coastal Bengals is no stranger to Pop Warner.  Starting as a cheerleader, then student demonstrator, Taylor worked her way to Head Coach where she has remained for the last 13 seasons. Several of those seasons were coaching National Championship teams, that have placed in the top five from 2009 to 2019. 
This year is like most, Taylor and their staff faced many obstacles raising the funds to help the girls and families afford the trip to Florida.  They reached their goal and are thankful for fundraiser support and community contributions.
She feels very fortunate and proud of how hard the girls have worked this season.  Including how the girls attend all practices, in spite of each girls busy school schedules and extracurricular activities. Their team motto is  "We Got This".  Go Get It Coastal!

Carla Burnett of the Odell Eagles has been a Head coach for 3 years in Charlotte North Carolina. She became involved with Pop Warner seven years ago when her daughter was just 5 years old. This is her squads first time competing at the National Cheer Championships and she and the team are beyond excited to say the least. 
Her largest coaching challenge is keeping the team continuously working together. To do so, she created a motto "One Team".
The Odell Eagles Pee Wee squad girls have been together since they were Tiny Mites. Some attend the same schools and some even attend church services together. The girls are very close which helps to call each other "Family".
Carla believes this is their year to shine at the next level. Their faith in each other as a coaching staff completes the journey to the championship today.  Welcome to the National Championships Odell!


SOUTHEAST REGION SPOTLIGHTS  - MONDAY
Cheerleading passion makes the Lee County Warriors Varsity team fearless! Coach Deneedra is no stranger to Pop Warner. She started volunteering in Hawaii, then Texas, and now Georgia. According to Deneedra, “Pop Warner is the best organization she has ever been a part of!” This team is returning to Nationals after winning 4th place in 2018 determined to be #1. Keeping the girls motivated is the most important for the coaching staff.  It shows when watching this team perform. The team motto is, “Who’s got your back!”  I was able to see just how far the team will go to have each other’s back. During warm-up, one of the girls was having a hard time.  The team sprang into action to assist her They immediately surrounded her, repeating encouraging words filled with motivation and love. The Lee County Warriors Varsity team said, "Returning to Nationals can be attributed to the team’s dedication, hard work, and passion for cheerleading."  The girls think the best parts of the routine are the stunts, tumbling, and the dance.   The best advice Coach Deneedra could provide to new coaches is to have great time management skills, be patient, have fun and don’t give up. The team was supported by the community through funding to attend Nationals and their spirit. I guess for this team the saying is true that “Teamwork makes the dream work!” Go, Warriors!

They say a successful cheerleading team beats to one heart! That could not be truer for the North Pinellas Panthers Junior Varsity Show Cheer Team. This cheer squad is a true family unit. These girls have moved through divisions together as a unit. As girls age out of Pop Warner, they seem to come back as junior coaches to continue the success of the program. 2019 will be the Panther's fifth year performing at Nationals. According to Coach Jess, the team is extremely excited to be here. The Panthers have overcome multiple injuries this season, which may normally be impossible to come back from. But not for this team. The other teammates put it all back together again and made it to Disney. Coach Laurie could not be prouder of this team. While discussing the girl’s perseverance during the season, the coaches' eyes began to well up with tears. The show of emotion and support is inspirational. While in the holding room, coach Laurie took the time to read all the motivational statements on the wall.  She would then express what they mean to her and the team. The Panther's community is the foundation, as well as moral and financial support. We all know that family is everything, and this family’s love is genuine!



NEW ENGLAND REGION SPOTLIGHTS - MONDAY
The New Fairfield Falcons have been together since Tiny Mite Level. These girls have grown together over the years, and formed an unbreakable bond. They are a strong, solid team with true friendships between them. They have each other's backs without question, through thick and thin. This year, they have added one new member whom they have welcomed with open arms. This team has been to Nationals previously, with their most recent visit being last year. They are confident that they will do what it takes to bring home the trophy.
So far the Team has enjoyed pool parties and one Park since their arrival on Saturday. They cannot wait to enjoy more Park action and are excited for the Pop Warner Party coming up.
The Head Coach has one piece of advice for new coaches. You MUST have patience and understanding. Everything is attainable, and all problems are solvable. If you are going to put in the time and effort however, you have to have patience.
This Tauton Tigers Varsity squad have been a strong force since their inception on August 1.  They have more than proven that they are bonded when overcoming their obstacles in their efforts to get to the National Event. They have lost teammates within just the past few weeks, but have come to Disney stronger than ever.
So far the team has enjoyed a few Parks, and they had their Annual team dinner at Medieval Times. They enjoyed the show, and were ecstatic that their Knight won the tournament. 
Their Fundraising efforts to get to Disney were vast. The most popular and bountiful fundraiser has been their $10k raffle. They were able to secure their funds that they needed to get their team here with this fundraiser.
When asked what the favorite part of the routine was, the Coach said that their dance was the most popular. They are doing a Grease theme this year and are very enthusiastic about it.

The Merrimack Hawks are in their 2nd year as a team. The fact they have been to Nationals in both Seasons, is nothing short of amazing. In order to get down here, they sold "a ton of Krispy Kreme donuts!" That seems to be an excellent fundraiser for them. 
The Hawks came from another previous Pop Warner Organization. They remain with Pop Warner mainly due to the Scholastic focus, competitiveness that they experience on the road to Nationals, and the Safety Rules/Regulations that Ycada has set in place.
The Head Coach has expressed her many thanks and gratefulness to other mentors that she has met in her 10 years as a Coach. She is especially thankful for the knowledge that the Coaches/Coordinators with the Taunton Tigers have provided over the years. 
If you ask the team which part of their routine is their favorite, you will get a unanimous "PYRAMID!!" They are extremely proud and excited to be able to share that stunt with us all.


EASTERN REGION SPOTLIGHTS - MONDAY
The Jackie Robinson Bears are attending Nationals for the very first time!!  Standing in the middle of the noisy warm up area, I asked them if all this was a little intimidating.  Trying to put on a brave front, they did have to admit it was a lot to take in.
If you ask the coaches the secret to getting a team to Nationals, they give all the credit to the kids.  "You can't make them want it.  This was a group of kids that really wanted it and was willing to put the work in to earn it.". 
Coach Shakeriah Carter is a Pop Warner Alum and loved her time in the program.  There was no question she was going to be a part of it. "This program is all about the kids.  Anything that is all about the kids I am in". 
The kids absolutely love the dance at the end of the routine. "It energizes us to finish strong!" 

Fallsburg Comet Varsity PW2 cheer team is hoping to give their teammate Aubrey a memorable 16th birthday gift today with an outstanding performance today!  
This team focused a lot on new , challenging and creative stunts this year that really pushed the team.  The team credited the very positive atmosphere created by the coaching staff towards giving them the confidence to handle the challenge as well as the ever present need to make changes.  
As for the coaches, they will tell you that they are in Disney because they did a lot of trusting and believing this team.  They were confident this team could handle just about they threw at them.
The Fallsburg association brings together 4 different school districts under their umbrella.  "Someday they might be at rival schools," explain the coaches.  "But today they are family."

The members of the Colonies Raiders JV team are no strangers to Nationals.  A good part of the team has been together since their first trip down to Disney as Mitey Mites.  The coaches admit that taking this team from Level 2 to Level 3 has been one of their biggest challenges.  "When your flyers are used to hitting body positions with someone always on their leg, then to go extended and have to hit those same body positions and stay up in the air all by yourself-that's a challenge!" explain the coaches.  The other challenge was to balance the other things in their lives while still making time to master this new level.  "They are kids who should still be able to have other things in their lives."
The coaches have all been through the Pop Warner organization together and are now bringing their love of cheerleading back to the program.  Their advice to new coaches?  "Be prepared for anything-anything will happen."  And most importantly "Always put the kids first - above anything else, including you."
Association President Martha Vadney has fought hard for Pop Warner in her community and here's why. "I love rules.  Oh sometimes they seem silly or unnecessary.  But they always exist in Pop Warner for the kids.  Other program may have uncertified coaches, have no boundaries.  But the rules aren't here because they protect the kids.  It's for the protection of your kids."

MID AMERICA HIGHLIGHT - MONDAY
The Bolingbrook Trojans are very excited to be here in Florida! This is the perfect end to a great season. Although there was a little turbulence after qualifying at the regional event when two girls were unable to travel with the team and the entire routine needed to be reworked, they have over come and grown stronger as a team.  Their favorite part of the routine...why the pyramid of course. 
The team did alot of fundraising to get here.  We sold Candy, popcorn, bake sale and did tagging.
The coaches are so very proud of this team and love what Pop Warner stands for, the focus being incivility and academics. Their advice to any new coach: Use your resources.  Use the rulebook, attend YCADA clinics, and seek as much education as you can. We can't wait to see you Bolingbrook!

Fort Osage Indians are back for our 4th Appearance at Pop Warner Nationals!!!!  Last year we were a Level 2 Small Team and we placed 10th.  In the off season we worked to build up our strength along with abilities and stunting.  We wanted to be a Level 3 team.  So we are back in 2019, Medium JV Level 3 team.  We are so proud of what we accomplished.
We owe many thanks to our parents for all of their fund raising efforts!!!.  They work the Kansas City Chief Football games - as a Non for Profit organization.  The chiefs then provide the proceeds back to our organization.  We were able to use this money for our travel fund.
The team has enjoyed visiting the theme parks and just having some down time to be together as a team and enjoy one another.  The coaches are beyond proud of how far this team has progressed this season in particular, even though they have been together since Tiny Mite. Good Luck Fort Osage!


Southeast Region's Very Own Rebel

To say she is a Rebel is an understatement. Niki Warner defied all odds when the former Pop Warner program she was coaching for chose to leave and join and different youth football league. She weighted all the pros and cons. Did all her research. She chose to stand alone when the entire board decided to leave as well.
She had grown up through the Pop Warner program, her children were in Pop Warner. She wanted them to have the Pop Warner experience she did growing up. The scholastic requirement was also a factor.  It was a no-brainer...she had create a cheer without football association.
The hardest part...She only had two months to try to bring it all together. To write bylaws, get the charter, and find a location were just a few of the things she needed to do.
So this full time working mom of six got to work. The biggest challenge by far was finding a location. They searched churches, parks, schools, everywhere they could think. No one was willing to help. They resorted to looking for empty lots, then contacting the property appraisers office to get in contact with the owner of the land. They became known as the Middleburg Stalkers. Finally....one of those empty lots turned into a treasure field. And the best part, the owner has let them use it for free for the initial year. But it is just that. An empty lot. No locker rooms. No concession stand. No lights. No bathrooms. Fortunately, the Family Dollar allows them to use their bathrooms. And all sponsor money has gone towards renting lighting.
80% of the cheerleaders decided to stay with Niki and give it a try, but she needed to find all new coaches. So began CLAY REBEL ATHLETICS. With black and lime green (Niki's favorite color) uniforms, these kids and coaches have stuck it out for what they believe in and love. Their first year they fielded five teams: Tiny Mite, Mitey Mite, Pee Wee, Varsity Co-Ed and a Challenger team.
Not only did they have five teams, two advanced to the national championships.  Pee Wee placed third in their division, and Varsity Co-Ed is a National Champion.
Nikii contributes the success of this inaugural year to the support of the First Coast League and the amazing parents and coaches of the program, and the determination of the participants to prove everyone wrong.  And that they did.  Thank you Coach Niki for being a REBEL!


SOUTHEAST REGION SPOTLIGHTS - SUNDAY
What you see is what you get, and you haven’t seen nothing yet! The Hub City Bulldogs PW team is truly a team to watch.  The association is only two years old and already has a team participating at Nationals.  How did this happen? Well, volunteers can come from anywhere. But, when you can find young people who not only love cheerleading, working with kids and are scholar-athletes what can go wrong. The Hub City Bulldogs PW team consists of 12 girls who have never cheered before and have made it Disney. According to Coach Tanya, some of these used the family environment Pop Warner cheerleading has created to overcome bullying. The team has become an extended family that provides comfort and inspiration to be the best at what they do on and off the floor. Some of the inspiration can be created to Coach Mya and Coach Lily. Coach Mya is a high school cheerleading captain who was exposed to Pop Warner in another region. She participated in 2013 and 2014 which her team received 1st and 2nd place. She wanted to volunteer to share her experience with young ladies in the Florida Panhandle. Coach Lily loves cheerleading and is a scholar-athlete who is also giving back by volunteering with these young ladies. When asked, “What is the best part of the routine?” the girls responded, “The Jumps because we keep getting better at it.” The team was not only supported by the association board but the community. They did a spirit night to help support the trip to Disney but was able to raise the remaining through online donations. I guess the saying is true for the Hub City Bulldogs, “It takes a Village!”

NEW ENGLAND REGION SPOTLIGHTS - SUNDAY
The West Haven Seahawks are having a busy year. This association from New England has three teams attending the Pop Warner National Cheer and Dance Championships. The Pee Wee's are the first  team to represent their town. About half of the team has been here before and know what to expect. Most of the team has been cheering since they were six years old and  appreciate their moment in the spotlight. 
The Seahawks decided to take advantage of the Double Good Popcorn fundraiser to offset the cost of travel. It proved to be a great decision. They were the highest selling team in the country, giving them an extra five thousand dollars on top of what they earned to contribute towards travel expenses. Congratulations on your success! 
As they prepare to take the mat, the coaches remind the team to give it their all. They express their gratitude for a great season and are
proud of their accomplishments. The coordinator then gives some short but inspirational advice and encouragement. The team listens to her words and takes her advice to heart. They are excited to get on the mat and show everyone what they can do. Go Hawks!

The Portsmouth Patriots Pee Wee’s are a medium team from the New England Region. Their league, RISMA, consists of associations from Rhode Island and Southern Massachusetts. This is the first time this team has made an appearance  at the Pop Warner National Cheer and Dance Championships. Head Coach Lauren Stevens is excited to have her team represent their town at such a big event. The 18 girls who will be taking the mat today have never been here before and they are all happy to share this experience together.  The Pee Wee team is one of two teams from Portsmouth who qualified to attend. Both teams have put a lot of effort into making it this far. Aside from their regular practice schedule, they participated in several fund raising events to help offset the cost of travel. Their most successful were their sponsor t-shirts and a pasta dinner. 
Now that all the work is done, Coach Lauren and Coach Heather make sure to tell the girls to go out on the mat and have fun. It was a great warmup and everyone is feeling good. They want them to enjoy the moment and be the best they can be.  They also remind them that that there will be time for fun in the parks after today. 


SOUTHWEST REGION SPOTLIGHTS - SUNDAY
The Northeast Vikings are not new to the national Event, and this years Pee Wee cheer team are all returners, with the exception of two girls. The best part of having a team of mostly returning participants is that they all know each other and really enjoy spending time together.   They also have a special bond that has proved beneficial when faced with challenges.
Although they love their entire routine, tumbling is their favorite part.  
For Coach Lori Amick, the most rewarding part of coaching is that participants she coached years ago, are now bringing their own children to enjoy the Vikings experience. She chose Pop Warner because of its inclusiveness. "Each child has the opportunity to participate and instills strength in academics."
Coach Loris advice to a new coach...be open-minded and look for the best in every child.  Good luck Northeast Vikings!


WESCON REGION HIGHLIGHTS - SUNDAY

The Fontana Elks are returning to nationals, yet again. Fontana’s teams are known to make it to nationals each year and they always attend. Some of they girls have never attended a national competition before and the coaches are ensuring this trip incredible and unforgettable for each and every girl. The team has been here for two days and have made good use of their downtime, already visiting Animal Kingdom and the pool.
The Elks are certainly excited for this trip and hoping to take home a first place trophy. Their favorite part of their routine... their stunt sequence of course. When asked why the coaches chose to coach with Pop Warner they all  gave the same response. Every coach takes pride in their town and wanted a chance to give back to the community. They believe that Pop Warner goes above and beyond with their program for every child involved and these coaches wanted to be a part of it. The Elk coaching staff would agree that  any new coach to the program would need to be very open minded to change, have lots of patience, have fun, and never forget why they started volunteering in the first place. Fontana’s cheer coordinator Kathy says her mentor was the former coordinator Blanca who brought her in and taught her how to coach. The head coach, Julia, said her inspiration was Alma, the assistant coach,  because she helped introduce her to coaching and supported her the whole way. Alma said her inspirations are Kathy, the coordinator, and Veronica, the old Fontana coordinator, because they both give so much to their girls and expect nothing in return.
Overall, on their journey to nationals, the Elks biggest challenge to overcome was finding a way to afford their trip. In order to raise money for their trip the Elks did car washes, sold tamales, and even gave up there thanksgiving to sell chocolates outside of grocery stores. According to the coaches, it is this commitment, by the girls and coaches, that gets them to  nationals each year. Best of luck Elks!


MID SOUTH REGION SPOTLIGHTS - SUNDAY
Head Coach Michele Blake of the Pee Wee PW2 Garner Trojans started as a student demonstrator when she was 15 years old in the Raleigh North Carolina area. Michele's mom was the ACDC/LCDC, so her passion to volunteer and coach was her destiny and in her DNA.  This is Michele's 20th season with Pop Warner, and returning to the National Championships for the fourth time. She has mixed emotions today as this team is comprised of some returning girls, but many are first timers. Their team motto...Hustle, Hit and Never Quit.  As a coach she does her best to make sure they have all the knowledge and skill necessary to compete. Also does her best to make sure the girls understand cheering is exciting and fun while doing their best. Their favorite part of the routine is their motions, movements and the dance in the middle. Good Luck Garner!
 
For Bret Tharp, attending the National championships is a yearly thing.  This Roger Bacon Academy veteran, is a seasoned 10 year coach, coaching the associations very first COED team. While most of the coaching staff are experienced, most of their athletes are new to cheering this year.  Bret and his staff has done an amazing job teaching, coaching, and getting their team super excited to perform this week!
The team motto is "Forever our Domain... Purple will always Reign".
To prepare the team, Bret distilled dedication, hard work with positive coaching. Doing so kept their new athletes motivated and excited about National Competition. We are excited to see you FIRE & ICE!

EASTERN REGION SPOTLIGHTS - SUNDAY
Kuyahoora Cougars PW1 team is a small team of 9 with nearly one-fourth of the team new to cheer.  Coach Kristen Nichols credits her success this year to mentor Association Coordinator Laura Allen with sharing her experience with her.  "I was able to pick her brain and learn all her tricks to getting a team here.".  For her part, Laura says she tries to know the rules inside and out so that is one area Kristen doesn't have to worry about.  And Kristen says she really tried hard to focus on clear strong fundamental skills.  
In early November, the Kuyahoora area was completely devastated by serious flooding.  Many of the teams' friends and families lost everything to these flood waters.  But the team still felt the support of their community.  Lots and lots of bake sales and bottle and can drives from people who just lost everything is just amazing, explains the coaches.  "There is a huge benefit going on at home today to benefit the flood victims.  And yet they found away to help us get here today."

Lenape Valley PW2 is a small team of 9, one-third being brand new to the sport.  The coaches, as well as the returning members, felt getting the newbies to Level 2 was one of their biggest challenges this year.  The coaches were confident the returning members were ready for the move to Level 2.  The returning girls agreed and did their part to encourage the newbies to rise to the challenge.  
The team all enthusiastically agree that the dance is their favorite part of their routine.  There is lots of movement and visuals and "they get to be sassy!
Head Coach Sue Bauer tries to emphasize the importance of being your best self today.  "There is no team to beat.  You just need to focus on being better today than you were yesterday."


MID AMERICA REGION SPOTLIGHTS - SUNDAY
This is the second National appearance for Robbins Cal Park Eagles and they feel they are stronger than ever.  
This year they wanted to work harder and improve from last year.  The most significant improvement is the team work of the coaching staff.  Being able to work cohesively together, has been a tremendous asset to the team. To continue to improve, they are also planning year round practice and are deciding what competitions to do in the winter / spring season to help prepare for next year.  
"We did so much fund raising to help us get here.  We sold popcorn and various amounts of food.  Our coach is a "baker" and sells baked goods for profit and she donated 30 percent of her sales to us."  
When asked what their favorite part of their routine is....EVERYTHING!  "We just love our routine. When you love something you do, it helps to make you smile and happy while performing."They are very excited as they will be performing two times while at Disney, back again tomorrow for the Sideline Performance Cheer.

    
Why are we here?  For the Highland Titans the answer is very simple...We love to cheer, we love our team and our coaches.      
This team has over come several challenges to get here.  The biggest, one of the participants became sick and unable to travel to Florida.  The coaches quickly re-did the routine and used our Disney Practice time to perfect it for today.  
The team has done many fund raising activities to get here.  Their favorite..."We were waitresses for our Spaghetti dinner.  It was a spaghetti dinner and we were the waitresses for each table, taking the orders, serving the food, and cleaning up afterwards."   
The dedicated coaches are the biggest reason this team is so successful  "I wanted to ensure that other children experienced what I did growing up. I understand the important values that Pop Warner brings to the kids.   There are not any other organizations that ensure focus on grades and the importance of school.   I use practice time to stress upon our girls the importance of an education, besides being active in sports."  
The team also utilized the new year round roster to their advantage, and it paid off!    


LETS GET THIS STARTED!
Good morning and welcome to the 2019 Pop Warner Cheer and Dance Championships!  As usual, the championships will not disappoint! We have an incredible six days of competition, with approximately 530 teams hoping to achieve a title and be crowned Pop Warner national Champion.
What’s new this year you ask?  LOTS!  Although we do miss our day of Tiny Mite exhibition performances, there is more cheerleading and dance than ever!
We are excited about new Pilot Program, the CORE Cheer division. This is a compulsory routine, created by YCADA with music provided by Power Music Cheer, that is intended for new coaches and new participants to be able to focus on the proper technique of cheerleading, without the stress of having to create the routine. This division was available to Tiny Mite thru Pee Wee age levels. All CORE teams will compete on Wednesday.
We also have Mitey Mites competing this year for the first time. In years past they have participated in exhibition performances, but now have the opportunity to take the mat with a whole new perspective. So excited to see the event thru our youngest competitors eyes!
There will also be an addition to the end of each awards ceremony, continuing the excitement outside the HP Field House with music, photo ops, and interviews.
Even a brand new Fashion Show will be unveiled this week each day during the intermission.
Be sure to check out all our social media outlets and use the #PopWarnerCheerandDance
And be sure to catch all the excitement live at https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=gwvttb193uQ
Check back often!



EASTERN REGION SPOTLIGHT: Friday

Eastern Region’s highlight team for day-Dexter Lions!  Head Coach Ericka and her assistants Janelle, Lyndsey, Taylor have been coaching together for the past three years. Family is what united them.   The team has 25 cheerleaders that some have cheered together for the past seven years. They are from four different schools within the district and have submitted  four All American Little Scholar Applications.  
These Lions were busy fundraising after their Regional competition. In three days they raised over 15,000 to pay for their long journey from New York to Orlando. To help with those efforts the coaches cooked over 600 spaghetti dinners-that includes 800 meatballs and 40 lbs of sausage. 
Family is  the key component of this team’s success. They traveled down with members of their extended cheer family. Together with those that live local they had over 100 in the stands.  They are more than just a team-they are a family!


WESCON REGION SPOTLIGHT:
Friday
Sister cheer squads from Kailua on the Island of Oahu are the focus of the Wescon Region Spotlight for Friday.  The Kailua Jr PeeWee Mustangs, coached by Head Coach Ashley and Assistants Sharene and Irae have been to the big show as a Tiny Mite squads two years ago.  They are so excited to be back as a competitive team for the first time!  The JPW Mustangs had many fundraisers to help get the team halfway around the globe!  From candy sales to meals at games and practices, the team was up to the challenge.  The ladies of the Mustangs cannot decide what is their favorite part of their routine - it was pretty evenly divided between the stunting, tumbling and dance.  You can hear the squad reciting their motto...Yessah Blessah, No stressah!!
The PeeWee Mustangs are lead by Head Coach Sherrie Assistant Ilila and Jr Coach McKena.  The squad has been together for four years but this is the team's first trip to Nationals.  The squad was challenged with having to change the routine at the last minute because two of their teammates couldn't make the trip.  Along with their sisters on the the Jr PeeWee team, the squad did quite a few different fundraisers - Krispy Kreme donuts at the games, chocolate bars, and concession every game day - just to name a few.  The PeeWee Mustangs like to spend time bond building.  They go swimming, play games and even made Minnie ears for the trip!
Kailua Mustang ohana has a special bond because there are more cheer squads than football teams.  All the squads take pride in the support for each other at games and other Kailua Pop Warner functions. So much so that the football team is here to support them both as they perform back to back in the order of performance!


SOUTHEAST REGION SPOTLIGHT:
Friday

Teamwork makes the dream work! The New Tampa Tigers Junior Pee Wee team is attending the Pop Warner National Cheer and Dance Competition for the first time and were ready to hit the floor.  The team received parental and community support which made the girls want to work even harder during their performance as a “Thank You”.  The Tigers understand the meaning of teamwork.  The team consists of two special needs girls who never feel anything else but included in the group.  This behavior makes the girls feel amazing just like a second family.  Coach Sherae is extremely proud of the team as well as Coach Marlena who is also the association president.  Volunteering is rewarding but when you are working with such a committed and devoted group of young ladies it just makes it even more gratifying!


SOUTHEAST REGION SPOTLIGHT: Thursday

Go Big or Go Home!The Wildwood Wildcats Junior Varsity Hip Hop Dance team decided to go big!  Coach Cristy and coach Crissy have eleven of the most energetic and charismatic group of young ladies you ever want to me.  The Wildcats are a duel team competing in cheer and hip hop for their first time at Nationals.  The has a fun group of 6th through 9th grade girls who want to remain in Pop Warner instead of moving to other cheer organizations in their community.  Before preforming instead of the coach leading the inspirational speech and prayer, the girls asked to that person.  The person who talks about how thankful they are to be here, how blessed they are to be a group as well as a family and how they plan to go big once on the performance floor.  Well, that is exactly what this team.  Coach Crissy could not be prouder of these girls then she was when the performance ended.  All hugs, smiles and praise. 


MID SOUTH REGION SPOTLIGHT: Friday
The Harrisburg Cowboys have NEVER had a team compete at the National Level, so these young ladies are Pioneers for their Region. This group of adorable young ladies are extremely proud to be representing their Town, and hope to place with a Win this week. Just an opportunity to compete at this level has been a dream come true. Being a Town Municipal Association, this Team was lucky that the Town has supported their trip wholeheartedly, with donations and sponsorships. They were also able to have a few small fundraisers.
This team has enjoyed going to all of the Parks so far, and each member seems to have a different favorite. They have spent this week doing Team Bonding and are hoping to have a Team Christmas party as well. This Team originally started at a number of 12, with some challenges bringing the Team size down to 8 competing today. They have lost athletes at the Regional Level, and one of the current Athletes ended up breaking her arm right after the Regional Competition. They have powered through however to succeed this far. 
Each athlete has a part of the routine that they like the best, but in particular, they all love the double toe touch.

The Garner Trojans have been to Nationals as a Team 4 times at various levels. This year all but one member from last year's team came back with adding 7 more athletes that were brand new.
For Fundraising efforts this team involved their Community Small Businesses with shopping days, with both organizations benefiting. They also sold Gourmet Candied Apples, and created sponsorship shirts for sale as well.
This Team has enjoyed the week here at Disney bonding while they take to the Parks for fun. They all enjoyed going to the Pop Warner night at Animal Kingdom.
In addition to loving the dance portion of their routine, they also love their stunting. They have a blast doing inversions which they did not do last year, along with the twist ups. 


EASTERN REGION SPOTLIGHT: Friday

Tonight’s Eastern Region highlight team of the night-the Keansburg Cheer Alliance.  Coaching staff includes Head Coach Joyce and Assistant Coaches Maria, Jodi, and Thea. They have 29 girls on this squad. Six of them have been selected as All American Little Scholars. All but one have been cheering since the flag age division.  This squad may have cheered for quite some time together, but they are brand new to Pop Warner.  As a matter of fact, they had to fundraise this year to start up their program in addition to funds needed to come to Nationals. Money raised from paint and sips, spaghetti dinners, good old fashioned can drives and local sponsors enabled the new organization to purchase their mats and equipment needed for the season. 
The team spirit among each other was truly uplifting. The girls cheer each other on when practicing their tumble passes. The belief and support of one another during the builds can be heard across the practice mat. This squad embraces teamwork and that does make the dream work. These Lady Legends are one amazing team!


NEW ENGLAND REGION SPOTLIGHT: Friday
The Dracut Middies are a fixture here at the Pop Warner National Cheer and Dance Championship. The Middies always represent The New England Region well. This Junior Pee Wee team of seventeen is here for the first time. The team consists of a mix of new cheerleaders and returning Mitey Mites. As they prepare to take the mat, they are guided by group of seasoned coaches who know how to keep the nerves in check. They check uniforms and bows and know what to say to keep the girls focused.  These athletes are ready. 
Once the team earned their spot at nationals, they put their efforts into fundraising to offset the cost. They sold wreathes and mums to raise the needed funds. Now that they are here, they have enjoyed going to the parks. They spent the day at Animal Kingdom as a team. The safari was a team favorite. Today they take the mat in the hopes of starting a new tradition for this young team. Good luck ladies!  


EASTERN REGION SPOTLIGHT:
Thursday

Eastern Region highlight team for the day-Hillside Jr. Comets Varsity Hip Hop. Coaching staff, otherwise known as the Fab Five, includes Head Coach Rayba, and Assistant Coaches Alexius, Tyease, Shereedah, and Summer. They have 12 dancers that have always brought the following personalities to the floor:  Funny, Grumpy, Tired, Sleepy, Angry, Confused, Questionable, Annoying, Crazy, Special, OCD, and Happy. The team fundraised by bagging at Shop Rite and selling blankets when their High School took the state championship. This team has very busy schedules- not only do they dance for Pop Warner, they are  high school cheerleaders, game trainers, and hold down part time jobs. Yet they are still able to maintain their grades and two are All American Scholars. With the guidance of the coaches, the team choreographed the dance to the music. The coaches placed all the bling on the jackets to bring it all together.  Both coaches and athletes stated the attitudes of the team can really make or break routine.  As the coaches prepare the team for mat, she tells them they have just one time. “We got here, show them and represent. Let make this loud and clear-Jersey’s here.


JR. REPORTER: ELLE O'CONNOR

About Me:               
I have been competing for nine years as a Winchester Sachem, and I have grown as a teammate, student, and person because of all of my coaches, family, and peers. Cheerleading has enhanced my balance, credence, time management skills, flexibility, and strength. This sport has allowed me to flourish and blossom into a person who is able to stunt, tumble, and jump. This year was my seventh time going to Nationals for Pop Warner, and I am beyond grateful to have had the opportunity to do so. From the times when I was a Mighty Might and exhibiting to competing as an A Team, my team and I have experienced our losses together, and we have celebrated our victories as a unit. As this season is coming to a close, I will be graduating from Winchester Pop Warner Cheerleading, which I will always remember for its support in everything I do. This sport has recognized me in the classroom, on the sidelines, as well as on the competition mat. Leaving this program has filled me with sorrow, however, I am eternally thankful to have been able to be a cheerleader in this organization. I have had numerous coaches who have always pushed me beyond my limits because in cheerleading, there are no restrictions to what you can achieve. Pop Warner has taught me that accomplishments don’t happen overnight, and a National title isn’t in your hands with the wave of a magical wand. Instead, it takes hard work and determination and drive are necessary in every event I will participate in.

Winchester Sachems:

Practicing three days a week since the beginning of August, the Winchester Sachems have made the difficult change from being level one to level two, however, they continue to leave people in awe with their performance. They plan to amaze everyone with their phenomenal facials and their sass that will leave everyone wanting to continue watching them. This stellar group of girls that are ages ranging from nine to twelve will grab everyone’s attention with their exceptional dance and breathtaking stunts. This medium level two Pee Wee team, has become reigning champs when they received first place at regionals, allowing them to persist to National. They will be competing against eighteen other teams. Some of these girls have been fortunate enough to know what it will be like to compete at Pop Warner Nationals because it will be their second time competing there. A large portion of this team have been cheerleading for seven years, while others began this sport this year. While they are in Disney World, these girls hope to get a National title in their hands, however, going on rides like Splash Mountain and Pandora are also on their list of things to check off. Some of these cheerleaders have already been to Animal Kingdom and Magic Kingdom, and did so when they arrived in Florida after flying all the way from Massachusetts. As this season is coming to a close, these cheerleaders explain how they are going to miss each other beyond words that can explain, and they are looking forward to reuniting with them on August 1st of next year.

Southwest Colts: 
Magic Kingdom and Hollywood Studios are some of the most favored parks to go to, and for the Southwest Colt, they can’t wait to go there. Most of the girls on the team are going to rush into the line for Tower of Terror when they get to Hollywood Studios. Going to parks is one of the best things to do in Florida, but for these dancers, they also have their eye on the first place trophy for Varsity Theme dance. They are most excited for showing their powerful ending that will leave everyone in awe over their talent. This team has already received first place and hope to be rewarded with this honor once again at Nationals. Their amazing and difficult beginning will leave everyone wanting to see their kick-turn again. They have competed at other competitions in order to arrive at Nationals. They competed against seven teams to get here, and they will be competing against more for this competition. Some of these dancers have already been to Nationals before to compete at earlier competitions and can’t wait to show their routine to their audience. As this season is ending, this group of dancers are going to miss their friends and coaches with whom they have developed unbreakable bonds with. These dancers that are ages thirteen through sixteen are looking forward to competing and showing their incredible abilities to the judges, their family, and to all of the teams that they are competing against.

Fort Osage Indians:   
Flying down all the way from Missouri, this small Pee Wee level two team, known as the Fort Osage Indians, are looking forward to showing the judges how clean they are and the fabulous facial expressions that they have. Their stunts and tumbling remain as their favorite part of the routine, and they are excited to show their audience how amazing their routine is. They competed against four teams in Chicago in order to arrive in Florida, where they will be competing against ten teams. For some of these cheerleaders, it is their third time going to Nationals, and most of them have been cheering for six years. These girls who are the ages of nine to twelve are thrilled to have the opportunity to return home with a National title. As excited as they to have the chance to receive a first place trophy, they are also looking forward to attending Magic Kingdom and Epcot as a team. There, they hope to go on the new Pandora ride. At other parks like Hollywood Studios and Epcot, they can’t wait to go on the rides known as Tower of Terror and also Mt. Everest. This team are a group of cheerleaders who are excited to go to their other sports such as gymnastics, basketball, and soccer, however, they are also going to miss being a powerful team together, as this season as brought them lots of success.


MID SOUTH REGION SPOTLIGHT:
Thursday
The Panthers are a dual Team competing in both Cheer and Dance, with their Dance routine bringing them to Nationals this week in Disney. This is their third year to reach this level under the guidance of their current Head Coach. Luckily, the Panthers were able to secure a sponsor to assist in getting the funding needed for travel, in addition to Raffle Basket and Breakfast fundraisers. The team had a tough break this year with the major Hurricane that caused a lot of destruction in their area. This left the team unable yo practice for 2 weeks, and then have to practice under harsh conditions in the outside elements.They had a lot of catching up to do, but worked extra hard to make it this far.  When asked what the best part of their experience so far was, they told me that they have immensely enjoyed the Team Bonding that they have been able to do this week. 

The Roger Bacon Academy is one of those teams that comes from an exceptional program. Every year for the past 13 years, the Varsity Team has attended Nationals here at Disney. The Staff prides themselves on developing an Elite  level program to remain one of the top competitors in the USA. Fundraising has been select as efforts have been put forth to get these athletes to Nationals. The main fundraising sources have been Cookie dough and Lottery Raffle fundraisers.
This year the team has had some challenges with injuries, and the loss of athletes for various reasons. Luckily they have been able to make up the differences to advance. This team has enjoyed going to the Parks here at Disney, but they also have enjoyed the Team Bonding that they have been doing while they are traveling. The best part of their experience has been their own Christmas Party that the Coaching Staff put together.



WESCON REGION SPOTLIGHT
: Thursday
The Chino Lady Colts Jr Varsity team is from the Mt. Baldy Conference.  The team is lead by Head Coach Chandra and Assistant Coaches Veronica and Lynette.  The Lady Colts have attended Nationals for the past four years and the second year as a dance team.  The cheerleaders say that they love competing in the Theme Dance division because they have fun coming up with their theme and learn something new. The Lady Colts had many different fundraisers to help get them here. The most unique one of is setting up Easter Egg Hunts for families in their community.  Parents donate to the team and the girls and coaches go to their homes and hide eggs for the children to hunt!  The team has not been without it's challenges.  The coaches have worked hard to make sure that every teammate feels included, especially with the wide range of ages of the girls.  Coach Chandra promotes respect for each other and encourages them to appreciate each other for what they contribute to the team.  After competition the team plans to spend time at Hollywood Studios, Epcot Center and end with a shopping spree at Downtown Disney.  "One team, one dream" the team's motto is prevalent throughout my time with them.  The team is definitely focused on the dream!  


NEW ENGLAND SPOTLIGHT:
Thursday
The New Britain Raiders Coed Varsity level 4 team, from Connecticut, is always a New England Region crowd favorite. This team of 16 cheerleaders, including 3 boys, has earned a spot at The Pop Warner National Cheer and Dance Championship for the past five years. This year they brought all four of their competitive teams to Orlando, that’s 70 cheerleaders! 
The driving force behind all this success is Coach Justin Mitchell. He’s been at it for about 13 years. The driving force behind Justin is his mother, Maria Mitchell. She’s been at it for somewhere around 30 years. No one is sure and neither one could be asked because they were both busy with two of their teams warming up  simultaneously.
The New Britain Raider PALs (Police Athletics League) are part of a larger non profit program that serve the children of New Britain. They spend a lot of time fundraising for their yearly program expenses. This year they had to step up their efforts. The key to their success were their corporate sponsors. They are very grateful for their help in getting all of their athletes to Orlando. Once here, all The Raiders enjoy Animal Kingdom during the day but at night it’s all about The Magic Kingdom. Who can blame them? All of their fans look forward to the magic they bring to mat! Best of luck New Britain!

The New England Region Edgewood Eagles Varsity cheerleaders have a lot to be proud of. They qualified to attend the Pop Warner National Cheer and Dance Competition in Orlando. It’s not the first time and hopefully won’t be the last. This team of 22 has been together since they were Junior Pee Wees. There is a closeness and support that you can feel. They are like sisters. They have one more season together and plan to make the most of it. To make the trip possible this year, the team put a lot of effort into fundraising. They sold popcorn, cookie dough and calendars. Sponsor T-shirts were a big help and they are thankful for the community support. 
Its a quick trip for this team but they were able to find the time to attend the Pop Warner night and Disney’s Animal Kingdom before they head back to Rhode Island. Fly Eagles, fly


WESCON REGION SPOTLIGHT:
Wednesday
The San Carlos Varsity Lady Patriots us under the direction of head coach Kari Rice.  Kari is not only the head coach of this varsity team but is also the ACDC of their Association.  Kari has been with this San Carlos Association since 2009.  She was a head coach & ACDC until 2015 when her daughter aged out of Pop Warner.  Kari was excited to move onto other aspects of her life.  In 2017 the President of San Carlos Treshawn Johnson asked Rice to come back to the Association.  The San Carlos Patriots have attended the National cheer Championships 3 times.  The team did several fundraisers to make it across country to this competition. A Spa day for the parents, dinners at local restaurants in SD, butter braid bread and asking for donations from local businesses.  The challenges that this team has over come was the last minute changes of participants not able to make it to this competition.  The team traveled with 12 out of 20 girls.  The teams best moments so far was walking into the All Star resort here at Walt Disney World and receiving the red carpet treatment.  The girls loved this full Disney experience.  The teams motto: We are all a family! Coach Kari looks forward to the years to come with this San Carlos Association.  She wants to build this program to be the best of the best. Her goal is to get all of her teams to this National Championship Comp!!!  
Best of luck Lady Patriots!

ENTERTAINMENT TEAM: Theses ladies are keep you entertained between those amazing team performances! The Dad's toe touch sponsored by Dick's, the Dance Off sponsored by Pastry and so much more.

My name is Simone Sutton and  I have been a part of Pop Warner for over 15 years.  I have coached cheer and Dance both over those years.  The last 6 years I was the head coach for Varsity dance team.  My girls placed 2nd last year(Hip Hop) at National and 1st place(Theme) in 2016.I have been working with Pop Warner Nation Team for 4 years on the promotional side.  I have a 31 year old daughter and a 29 year old old son.  I have a grand daughter that cheers on a Pop Warner Team and competed on Monday.  Her team did an awesome job and placed 6th at Nationals this year. 
My name is Pat Martel and I have been involved with Pop Warner for over 20 years.  When my daughter asked me to join Pop Warner as a cheerleader, I had no idea that my life would be forever changed.  That first year I just sat back and watched the magic happen.  The next year I was asked to be the Team Mom.  I slowly moved up to Asst Coach, Head Coach, Association Coordinator, League Coordinator and am now the Asst Treasurer for the New England Region.  I have made friendships for life, with moms, coaches and athletes.  I love my Pop Warner Family!


SOUTHEAST REGION SPOTLIGHT:
Wednesday
The Hagerty Huskies Junior Pee Wee Performance Cheer Team is Loud and Proud.  Combined with girls who moved up from Mitey Mite and new participants the team is ready to take advantage of their first time at Nationals.  The coaches of this team including the junior coach said the team was fun to work with spunky personalities included.  The commitment and enthusiasm of the team can be attributed to the head coach.  Coach Megan is a nurse working twelve hour shifts as well as being a mother of four.  “There is no way I could make it happen without my association family”, said Coach Megan.  Community support and teamwork are key parts and admirable attributes of the Hagerty Huskies.  The testament of passion and dedication shows this team is developing skills that will last them a lifetime.

Can they work it…. Yes, they can!


The Forestview Tigers JPW Hip Hop dance team did exactly that.   The team’s coaches took a chance moving this group of young ladies from Mitey Mite to Junior Pee Wee because of their enthusiasm and motivation to be the best.  They are small but mighty with only six girls, but they perform as a cohesive group with a lot of positive attitude. This behavior allows the girls to bring the best out of each other.  The team is ready for the adrenaline rush for performing at Nationals for the 1st time.  The team’s coaches want the team not only to leave a lasting impression on the judges but build a lasting connection.



EASTERN REGION SPOTLIGHT:
Wednesday

Today’s highlight team of the day is the Rochester Rams Pewee hip hop dance team. This is was their 1st year performing a hip hop routine. Last year they took 2nd in Pom and Theme and this year’s goal is to come home with the W! Under the direction of Head Coach Britany, with assistants Shawntia, Morghan, Laron, Neysha,  and coordinator DeeDee,  this dream team coaching staff have made an amazing transition with these girls. There are 17 beautiful young ladies on the team, ranging in ages of 10 & 11. Seven of these young ladies will be moving onto Varsity next year, so this is their last year cheering with this level. It was a long bus ride from Rochester, NY and to fund the trip they raised money by selling popcorn, cheesecakes and Katydids. The biggest seller were the katydids.  The costumes were designed based on theme, “Dripping Rain” and budget. One of the biggest challenges this team overcame was team bonding. To solve this issue the coaches had sleep overs and  get together throughout the season and parties after large events. As they are preparing to perform they dedicate the routine to their coaches and said a prayer. When they walk out onto the mat, their fans go crazy. The support throughout that organization is amazing. Congratulations to the Rochester Hip Hop PeeWee- National Champions!

Eastern Region’s highlighted team of the day is Marsh Creak Eagles.   This is the first time ever in the 20 years of the organization’s existence a cheer team has won a bid to National competition. Head Coach Kelly and her Assistant Coaches  Roseann &Vanessa along with their 25 sweet little “nuggets.”  One of the athlete’s are unable to compete because of a broken ankle received mid season during an ice skating event, yet still made it down. The team fundraised their way to Disney via Go Fund Me accounts, local sponsors, and the local VW. They are still doing fundraising to get to Globals in Atlantic City. This team was special from the start.  The secret to their success was the bonding the team did on its on own-they cared for each other. But to help with that the team held a nerd party, had a pj practice, and hosted crazy hair and crazy sock days. The key was to have fun. Right before performing their last routine of the year the coach asked them to shine bright, be loud and give it their all. Coach further told them they will forever support the team and be in their corner for years to come.   She asked them to promise to have fun. In return the cheer leaders responded they were coming back to cheer for MCE and not their middle school. This squad sure does know how to make their coaches proud!  


NEW ENGLAND SPOTLIGHT:
Wednesday
The Manchester Eagles Challanger team has been planning their trip to The Pop Warner National Cheer and Dance Championship for some time. They are from Manchester New Hampshire, in the New England Region where they always steal the show when they perform! They are a small but mighty group of athletes. 
The Manchester Eagle Varsity Cheer team is by their side every step of the way. This group of dedicated cheerleaders helps the challenger team in every aspect of preparation for the big day. They help make sure bows are straight and nerves are in check, then go out on the mat to ensure these athletes don’t miss a beat. It’s only fitting that the varsity team has their own routine to perform later today. It’s a great day to be an Eagle! 
It’s been a long and busy week for the Eagles. A big part of the excitement for this team has been to go to the parks and meet the characters. Winnie The Pooh is very popular with this group. Today they are excited to get out on the mat and show everyone what they can do. They will leave Orlando with some great memories and knowing that they rocked the house! Go Eagles!

The South County Rams have spent the last few months practicing and preparing two routines in the hopes of performing both at The Pop Warner National Cheer and Dance Championship In Orlando. This team traveled from The New England Region to represent their Central Massachusetts League. Their preparation and planning has paid off!
These cheerleaders have had a busy week. They performed their show routine earlier in the week and today will perform their sideline routine. They look forward to some down time in the parks. Hollywood Studios has proven to be the favorite park. It’s a great way to close out a busy season. They weren’t too busy to notice a cheerleader from another team who’s nerves were getting the best of her during warm ups. Watching them take the time to help her out and make her laugh was a great reminder of what this is all about. 


SOUTHWEST REGION SPOTLIGHT
: Wednesday

We are the San Antoinio Wolverines! This team has advanced to the national championships in both Dance and Cheer and will be performing their cheer routine on Friday.  We truly believe "You got to want it to win it. And we WANT IT!"  This team has had to work very hard to be here.  As a new team, and very new to dance, they have had many hard practices. Qualifying for the national event after placing first at both the league and region level, they are ready for the next step. But that wasn't easy either. Much fundraising was needed to get here, such as selling Food Plates, Water Bottles, Raffle Tickets, etc. We have been to Hollywood studios, and animal kingdom.  Tonight we are going to the Pop warner party, and we are getting "mickey bars"...We love our coaches and if it was not for them, we would not be at Disney this week.  We want to say "thank you coaches"


MID SOUTH REGION SPOTLIGHT: Wednesday
The Sanford Sting is a POM team from the Mid South Region. Their organization has not had a team qualify for the last 13 years, so they are quite excited to have the opportunity to compete today. These girls start their annual fundraising in the Spring and one of the most memorable is an Easter Egg "Flock" type fundraiser, similar to the Flamingo Flock fundraisers that you see decorating lawns. They have sold apparel, run every game day concession, and sold chocolate just to name a few of their fundraisers in order to travel to Florida. When asked, the girls told me that the first thing that they want to do while here is win their Division. After winning, they plan on park hopping and attending the Pop Warner party at Animal Kingdom. They were happy to be able to watch their PW1 Team compete the other day.Good Luck Stanford!

The Wilmington Eagles have made this trip to Nationals for the 3rd time as a team. They have competed both as a Performance and Sideline Team, but are hoping to  win today with this routine.
The fundraising efforts to get to Nationals has been vast. The team has had multiple sponsor dinners, bake sales, and a ton of canning at local venues  towards the end of their season.The girls are excited for the Pop Warner Night at Animal Kingdom, and cannot wait until they experience the other parks that Disney has to offer.When asked about their most favorite memories so far, they all agreed that they have been enjoying meeting other cheerleaders from around the US, along with being recognized when out in Public.This team has been able to push through the loss of one of their Athletes, along with a coach, to still be able to make it this far. This has brought the team closer together as a whole.  
The 2018 Hurricane Season has been especially hard for our Wilmington Eagles. Hurricane Florence in September, left a lot of destruction, leaving our girls without homes to live in, practice space, and also some athletes and coaches that were displaced due to the devastation. Since the team typically practiced outside, and there was nothing but wreckage in their town, with no outside space untouched by the storm, they were forced to reach out to the Community who stepped up to provide them with space to continue their Season.
With the loss of Team Members, the routine has had some setbacks, but overall, with the due diligence of the coaching staff, and determination of the athletes, these girls have mastered their routine to be able to qualify for National Competition. We wish you the best of luck Wilmington!

More Than Just An Education For Exchange Student
The state champion Barrington Eagles Varsity cheer team from the New England Region have had a great season. The small organization from Rhode Island went on the the New England Region cheer competition to become the regional champions, qualifying them to attend the National Pop Warner Cheer and Dance Championship in Orlando Florida. As the team worked their magic, it included an exchange student from Galicia Spain. Isabel Vazquez traveled to America in August to spend her sophomore year in Barrington Rhode Island with a host family. Although her host’s children have aged out of Pop Warner, they felt it would be a great way for Isabel to make some friends and learn more about what American teenagers do and are like. Is there anything more American than cheerleading and football?
There is no cheerleading in Spain. There are no organized high school sports at her school. Students go to school from 9:30 to 5:30. Luckily, Isabel has a friend who was an exchange student in Barrington 2 years ago. She cheered at the high school level and loved it. Isabel was excited and curious. She was barely off the plane when she was brought to sign up for Pop Warner and become a Barrington Eagle. 
Her first day of practice was difficult. She knew nothing about jumps, tumbling, stunting or motions. It was hard and unlike anything she had ever done. She was discouraged and considered giving up. She was encouraged to give it another try. She is thankful that she did! She loves the sport and loves putting in the work that it takes to be an athlete. Isabel has friends for life and has shared an experience that most youth athletes have never been lucky enough to enjoy. She will go back to Galicia in June with a once in a lifetime memory. 
Isabel is accustomed to a more moderate climate. Her trip to Orlando has given her a break from the cold New England air. She loves Orlando. When asked how she likes Walt Disney World, the first words out of her mouth were “crazy fun”. You can feel her excitement. The excitement became more palpable when the team placed second in the nation. It’s overwhelming for any young athlete to be named with the best of the best. For Isabel, it’s a dream, a dream that she didn’t know she had, a dream that came true. 




PACIFIC NORTHWEST REGION SPOTLIGHT: Tuesday
The South Valley Grizzlies have heard First Place quite a bit this year...First Place at Conference, First Place at Regionals and First Place at Battle of the leagues.  If first place was not enough, they decided to also have the highest scores of the day at each event.  When asked what is your next goal, a unanimous response of  "of course, First place at nationals".  A team of 14 tumblers is definitely to their advantage. What are they looking forward to after competing today? The Pop Warner Party at Animal Kingdom is top on their list. This team is lucky to have some very strong junior coaches that are now supporting their younger sisters, making this team a close knit family. They aren't ruling out Globals in their near future! Good Luck Grizzlies!


EASTERN REGION SPOTLIGHT
: Tuesday
Today I had the honor and privilege to highlight The Brick City Lions Junior PeeWee, Head Coach Lisa, Assistant Coach Dayana along with their Cheer Director Jacinta.  Together they coach a lovely group of 18 girls varying in ages from 8-11.  The girls are from the city of Newark and practice in various school gyms in the city.Everything about this team is new. They are in the rebuilding stages of the cheer program. The girls are new to cheer, the coaches are new to the program, and Disney was a new experience for the girls. Not only did they have to fundraise for their trip to Nationals, but their first major expense of the year was the purchase of mats. This was done by many can drives, booster sheets and the selling of lots of popcorn and katydids. This was important because none of the 18 girls had any tumbling skills and coaches had set some high goals to achieve. They truly believed in these 18 girls.  As they prepare to hit the mat, they tell the girls “they are here to take first- but in the end it’s about working hard, because when you work hard this is what you get.”  As we neared the performance floor the coaches reminded them to have fun and look good while having fun. Coach said, we are here now, we made it, now let’s show them our pretty faces! Go get them Brick City Lions!

MID AMERICA REGION SPOTLIGHT: Tuesday
Portage Indians are in the Disney House. Staying at the Coronado Springs Resort, the team is having so much fun. As a team performing at the national event in Show Cheer and Dance, they are a busy team.  Their motto..."the one, they only, Big Red" Qualifying in first place at their league championship and second at the regional, they have a goal for top 5 here at Disney. They are not just team mates, but friends as well. "We spend a lot of time together doing things....such as tag days,stunting, tumbling and dancing. The girls would like to thank Disney and Pop Warner for allowing them to have so much fun! We are excited we see you perform two days in a row Portage Indians. 


SOUTHEAST REGION SPOTLIGHT: Tuesday
Cougars on 3!!!  The Clewiston Cougars Junior Varsity team is an example of continuing the Pop Warner traditions through generations.  This team in lead by coach Megan who is also the Association Cheer and Dance Coordinator (ACDC).  She has three additional coaches and a team parent who has previous experience at Nationals.  This year is very special to the team as well as the team parent.  Lyndsey was on the Cougars team twenty years ago when the team placed 3rd.  She returns with her daughter’s team for their first time here at Nationals.  These girls and junior coach have been together for 4 years.  The cougars have tremendous community support and were able to raise the funds to attend the National competition. The girls work, act and function like sisters which make the team one big happy family.  As if the inspirational prayer was not enough before performance during the final line up, every girl received a hug from the coach.  The Clewiston Cougars Junior Varsity are a prime example of how great the Pop Warner brand is from generation to generation.

1st for Everything! The St. Augustine Saints Pee Wee team has a reason to be proud.  This is the team’s first time at Nationals.  The team has been cheering together since the Mitey Mite division.  Taking the comments received during the local competition and turning it into a first-place trophy at the Regional Cheer and Dance competition with a bid to Nationals says something about the motivation and dedication of the team.  They are grateful to have this opportunity to participate in such a wonderful event.  The Saints have three enthusiastic, devoted and committed coaches.  Loving what you do is how you stay relevant when coaching cheer.  Head coach Ashley shared her All-Star experience with this spirited group of young ladies with an array of remarkable personalities.  With an increase amount of parental support, the Saints will continue to grow and make Pop Warner a household name throughout their community.


SOUTHWEST  REGION SPOTLIGHT
: Tuesday
For the love of cheerleading!  When you take the time to think about why we do what we as well as what gives us the drive in cheerleading you think of the perfect group of kids to coach.  Well, the Colorado Springs Wardogs Junior Pee Wee team are as close as you can get.  The confidence and energy of these young ladies makes coach Sarah’s job that much easier.  This team works well together from one division to the next while being excepting of all new comers. “They are willing to take on anything that’s thrown at them”, said coach Sarah.  They are eager to learn and absorb as much as they can during practice hoping it will never end.  The girls move together as one and love the adrenaline rush of competing. The also conducting fundraising activities with their junior varsity who will be performing here at Nationals. It takes a special person with the love of people to work with kids with special needs, but when you find that same behavior is kids their age its remarkable.  “They girls teach my daughter the cheers and how to hold the pom poms which makes her feel like she is a part of the team”, said coach Sarah.  Who could ask for a better team? Way to go Colorado Springs Wardogs Junior Pee Wee cheer team!


MID SOUTH REGION SPOTLIGHT: Tuesday Afternoon
For the Central High Trojans this is quite the experience, This is their first time ever advancing to the national championships, and while they know they have a job to do, they can't help but be excited to go to all the theme parks. The Tojans have had multiple fundraisers to assist them  in their fundraising efforts to get the funding for their trip; a Lottery raffle  and multiple Restaurant sponsored events just to name a few. 
The girls have enjoyed Hollywood Studios so far, along with Disney Springs. They are hoping to enjoy the remaining parks soon.  Their most favorite activity has been the Team Pool Party.  All of these athletes have enjoyed their dance routine the most. Each athlete has their own particular part that they enjoy.  Enjoy your time here Central High Trojans!


MID SOUTH REGION SPOTLIGHT:
Tuesday Afternoon
This young team is experiencing their  very first National trip in the history of their organization. They are pioneers in their Region with a very promising look into their future teams coming up in the next few years. In order to help fund their trip to Disney, the team hosted various fundraisers including Bake Sales, Lottery Raffles, etc. They were able to succeed with the help of their Community Support.
In addition to going to the Parks, they have been hosting group activities for their Team and Families such as Game Night. They play Uno tournaments for fun. 
Asking the Team what their most favorite part of their routine was, they each showed me different parts of the dancing that they liked the best. Each one of the athletes liked a different part of the dance routine and I got to see a demonstration while waiting their turn in line to take the Mat.
This team has had a few things to overcome this season such as sudden quits and a few injuries. A couple of injuries happened right at Regional time, but they were able to pull it together to get the score needed to advance to the National Competition.
Most of this team has never even flown before and have enjoyed the experience of the flights, airports, riding the Magical Express. They have found the bus transportation fun riding around the Disney Property.


NEW ENGLAND REGION SPOTLIGHT: Tuesday Afternoon
The Taunton Tiger Varsity team, from New England, has been here before. They know what to expect and are ready to compete. This team of 15 has been together for 4 previous trips to the National Pop Warner Cheer and Dance Championships. They feel the pressure but are prepared. 
To prepare for their big trip, they had some pretty unique fundraising events. They held bake sales outside of polling locations, a 10k and Bibbidi-Bobbi did-boo breakfast. Now that they are here, the plan is to complete the task at hand.  Once that is done, they plan to make the most of the parks while they support their sister teams when they compete at the end of the week. These rock stars know how to handle their fame!!


WESCON REGION SPOTLIGHT:
Tuesday Afternoon
This afternoon we had the pleasure of talking with the Pee Wee South Gate Lady Aztecs under the direction of head coach Carmen Gonzalez.  Carmen and her teams (Jr Pee Wee, Pee Wee & JV) teams are very excited to be here. Being a new Association to the OEC Conference, their goal was to advance to the national championship, quite an accomplishment!
Like all teams, much fundraising was needed to be able to travel such as selling popcorn, housewares items, chocolate, doing food drives where they sold tacos, tamales & enchiladas.  They also received sponsorship's from different local businesses. 
One of the most memorable moments for Coach Carmen occurred when taking the team to Magic Kingdom and looking at the castle all lit up and the kids saying “Thank you for getting us here.  We would of never experienced this without you!”  
The teams favorite part of their routine is the tumbling & dance.  They are fired up to go out there and do there best!
The teams motto: Rep the Gate. Best of luck Lady Aztecs!!!




NEW ENGLAND MEDIA REPRESENTATIVE (for MID SOUTH): MELODYE WILDE
I’ve been in Pop Warner for the past ten years since my son started @ Mitey Mite Level In 2008. I have been on the Board of Directors for The Edgewood Eagles as the Director of Finance/Administration since 2008. I also help run the Football program. 
In 2017, I moved into the position of Ocean State Pop Warner Cheer Coordinator, bringing multiple teams down at all levels for the past two years to Nationals. 


NEW ENGLAND REGION SPOTLIGHT: Tuesday Morning
The Amity Spartans Pee Wee team traveled to Orlando from the New England Region. Most of the team was here last year and had a great time. The new members of the team are excited to learn what it’s all about. They put the work in all season long and feel ready. Head Coach Sarah Mastersanti said that once the team qualified, they put their extra time into fundraising to help them cover the cost of traveling. They couldn’t have done it without the support of their program and their town, something that they are proud of and grateful for.
They’ve had their time in the parks, which they completely enjoyed, but now it’s time to focus because they are ready. According to Coach Sarah, this is a great group of girls to coach. They’ve had a great season and are ending in the best possible way. Go Spartans!


WESCON REGION MEDIA REPRESENTATIVE: JENN BUSH
My name is Jenn Bush.  I am the LCDC for San Diego Pop Warner.  This is my 3rd season as LCDC. My background in cheer stems from cheering for San Diego Pop Warner when I was 9 yrs old.  Cheered all through my youth years into High School.  Hung up my Pom poms in College to swim.  In 2001 I had twin girls. 2007 had another little girl named Skylar.  2008 my twin girls Sierra & Makaela decided they wanted to cheer.  I signed them up with the Santee Cowboys. 2009 I started coaching cheer.  In 2011 Santee changed over to Pop Warner.  The Santee Ravens were emerged.  2014 I was nominated for the ACDC position for Santee Ravens and my little one started cheering for Santee.  In 2016 the LCDC position came available for San Diego.  I went for it and got it.  I love the sport of cheer and love the energy that it brings to me.  It is a lot of work, but I have to say the most rewarding aspect about my position is watching all these kids having fun.  Makes all the long hours worth it. 


WESCON REGION SPOTLIGHT
: Tuesday morning
This morning we had the pleasure of speaking to the Carlsbad Fighting Lancers Pee Wee team.  This is the first time this team has ever been to the National Competition.  This awesome team is head coached by Viviana Lopez and Asst coach Caly Bell. Carlsbad has not had a cheer team in over 3 years, so for these young athletes to advance to the national championships is quite an accomplishment.
But that is not to say they have not had their fair share of  obstacles this season.  Being a new team, these girls  have never cheered before...  Viviana had to teach all the girls the very basics of cheer, even the most basic high V.
The best moment so far for this team was walking into the ESPN center.  Seeing the huge screen showing cheerleaders performing on the National mat.  These girls know what they have accomplished to be here.
Their favorite part of their routine is the dance.  They can get sassy and give attitude.  Which they did out there. 
The Carlsbad motto is: Its CBAD time. Best of luck today Lady Fighting Lancers 



MID-AMERICA REGION SPOTLIGHT
: Monday Afternoon Session
We are the Bensenville Bandits.....This JV medium Level 2 team is very
 excited to be here at Nationals.  Not a stranger to the national championships, this is the third year this team has advanced.  When asked what their coaches have taught them, "you cant smile with your eyebrows down. They always say "keep your eyebrows up". Go ahead , try to smile with your eyebrows down. They do all agree about their favorite part of their routine...We love to Stunt!!!  Like many teams that travel to the championships, they too have lost some participants and needed to accommodate by changing the routine, but only had two weeks to make all the changes. Our Goal for Nationals is to place in the top 5! "Our coaches push us as a team!!!   They are very supportive of us, and push us to the limits.  But, they are also very proud of us!"   Go Bandits!


PACIFIC NORTHWEST REGION SPOTLIGHT
: Monday
Cali came to bring it! The Pacifica Tigersharks JV team consist of five coaches and twenty-nine of the most determined, tough and lively group of young ladies with variety of personalities you would ever want to meet.  Most would think this behavior is to be expected from a group of middle school girls with a small group of them who have been cheering together since five and six years old.  Traveling for the team was made easy when you have parents willing to make the trip from California to Florida to support the team at Nationals. This team is not new to Nationals winning 1st place in 2016 and placing in 2017.  “We are ready for another 1st place and a chance to attend Global,” said coach Melissa.  These young ladies are not afraid of hard work.  They had six fundraisers in three weeks to help fund the trip to Disney.  “Sometimes it takes a lot to get the girls to go full out or just to smile, but when the cameras are turned on it’s a go”, said coach Melissa and Chelsea.  The coaches provided a motivating and inspirational speech while waiting to perform.  I also got to witness to bond and love between the coaches while being lead to the performance floor. They say, “Teamwork makes the Dreamwork”, well this is true for the girls and the coaches. 


EASTERN REGION SPOTLIGHT
: Monday
The Fallsburg Comets are under the direction of coaching staff that includes Head Coach Kierra, Assistant Coach Erin and Assistant Coach Andrea. There are 16 girls on the team. Some of the girls have been cheering with team for 5 years, yet there are those that have just joined this year. 

Although cheer is the sport of choice, these girls are year round athletes participating in basketball, track, wresting, ice hockey, softball, volleyball, and soccer.  The team is from various school districts within Sullivan County.  This is why they call themselves the Comet Nation.
This is the fifth time at Nationals. Kim, the only member of the squad to age out after this year, has been to every National event. To help with the costly expenses of getting to Nationals from New York, the team fund-raised via coin tosses, candy sales, and penny socials. The biggest money maker for the Comets was the coin drop at the craft fair located at their local community college. The girls raised money by selling their own crafts to put towards their travel funds. They are not only athletes, they are artisans as well. 
 The girls felt their last practice was the most motivational because all of their stunts hit.  The team would know to get down to business when coaches yelled out “Ladies.”
The Head Coach often said during last warm up, “It’s you up there -fight for it.”  The coaches are impressed how the girls micromanaged  on their own along with the ability to work things out on their own.   One of the girls said to me the key for a successful stunt is communication with the back spots at all times.  Some other words of wisdom from these lovely young ladies were to try not to get frustrated over the little stuff and learn from your mistakes and move on. As we sat in the quiet room the Coach asked the girls to fill in the blank: I pray for _____ for this team: They responded with: Strength, Success, Happiness,1st place, Facials, Winning, Confidence, Victory, Sass, National Champions, Smiles, Love, Hits, Top 5, Positive, and Passion


WESCON REGION SPOTLIGHT
: Monday Afternoon Session
This afternoon we had the pleasure of talking to the Temecula Valley JV Golden Bears.   This team is Head Coached by Kristen and her assistant coaches Jackie, Holly, Star & Patricia.
The Temecula Bears are not new to the national championships, they are the reigning Pee Wee PW1.  With 14 of the 16 participants being new to the team, while a challange, has been so rewarding to see the team bond and grow.  
These girls did a ton of fundraising that consisted of restaurants, candle sales & running the snack bars at football games. 
While they know their priority is competition, they all can’t wait to the theme parks!!!  The girls favorite part of the routine is the pyramid. 
Their motto, Faith over Fear. 
Best of luck Lady Golden Bears!! 



SOUTHEAST REGION SPOLIGHT
: Monday Afternoon Session
Who’s got my back….Warriors!
What a wonderful chat that describes this group of strong and grateful young ladies!  The Lee County Warriors Varsity team are true fighters.  This group seemed to energetic, lively and absent of fear today. The team experienced the devastation of Hurricane Michael which not only destroyed property but left the team without a practice facility for weeks before the Regional competition which meant even less time to prepare before Nationals.  Luckily the local high school came to the rescue after their regular season and some Hurricane repairs.  The trials and tribulations didn’t stop there.  The remains of the hurricane also presented a fund-raising dilemma as well as the competition with local recreational teams. The Warriors didn’t give up because of shear dedication and diligent efforts to attend National for the first time.  The team made the most of the trip by taking the girls to the Disney parks to relax before competition. The coaches and team parent continued to motivate the girls on and off the floor.  So, when they chant “Who’s got my back…”, they know it will always and forever be the Warriors.


7 IS THE LUCKIEST NUMBER
Many teams have rituals, look for “a sign”, or are maybe even a little superstitious. But for the Manasquan Warriors, they feel they have a lucky number…7. For Head Coach Katharine Fitzgerald, she has felt 7 was lucky for her for some time.  In 2007, she was on the first Manasquan Jr. Midget team of 27 to advance to the national championships with a team of 7th graders. Placing second place at nationals that year, Katharine is excited for her team to have the same memorable experience she did her first nationals.In only her second year as Head Coach, this small, but mighty, JV team is the only team from Manasquan to advance to Disney this season. Katharine has noticed that lucky number 7 has seemed to come full circle this year again. 7 of the girls are returners. Most are in 7th grade; just like in 2007.Wishing the Manasquan Warriors the best of luck here at Disney and hope #7 is lucky for you this year!


MID-SOUTH SPOTLIGHT
-Monday Afternoon Session
The Mara Colts are relatively new to the national championships, only a few of the girls have traveled to Orlando prior to this year. For the first timers...they are ecstatic.
The Colts Community has helped their fundraising efforts in order to get the team here. The girls have sold Drinkware and hosted Restaurant Nights at various restaurants as a big potion of their fundraising. 
This team seems to be injury prone this season. The current Flyer, has just recently replaced the replacement due to a leg injury that took her out for most of the season. Luckily she was able to jump right back in when needed!
Like most every team to be lucky enough to get here, these girls are excited about all of the different parks. They don’t even have a favorite. They want to make sure that they get to spend time at each one, and cannot wait until the Wednesday party at Animal Kingdom.
The team also has a favorite portion of their routine. They can’t wait for the audience to see their stunting, but in particular their basket tosses! They are super excited to show them off. Good Luck Mara Colts!


NEW ENGLAND REGION SPOTLIGHT
- Monday Morning Session
The Old Rochester Bulldogs Varsity cheerleaders are thrilled to be attending the Pop Warner National Cheer and Dance Championship. They traveled from the New England Region and are representing their region with pride. Their team of 10 has struggled through injuries and have spent a lot of time trying to keep it together and complete the season. After qualifying to attend the national competition, they put their efforts into staying healthy and fundraising to offset the cost of attendance. A pasta dinner and T-shirt sponsors proved to be helpful in raising needed funds.
Now that The Bulldogs have arrived, having fun in the parks is on the agenda but the team is focused on one goal. The coaches want to see a clean routine. Coaches and cheerleaders want to see the team walk off the mat with smiles knowing that they did the best routine of the season.


WESCON REGION SPOTLIGHT:
Monday Morning Session
This morning we had the pleasure of meeting up with the Gilbert Varsity Lady Jaguars.  This amazing team is Head Coached by Kiarrah along with her Assistant Coaches Katrina and Angel. This is their 4th year attending the national championships.  They did many fundraisers to get them here: car washes, booths at their local stores & spaghetti dinners.
While here at Walt Disney World, they plan on visiting all 4 theme parks and celebrating tonight with a awesome team dinner! The team had many challenges this year, one being finding the time to juggle cheer with scholastics.  Their best moment so far here at the National Championships is walking onto the ESPN floor.  They are so happy to be here!  The girls favorite part of their routine is the last dance. They “love” the energy of this dance.  Wishing these awesome ladies the best of luck today!!!


MID-SOUTH REGION SPOTLIGHT:
Monday Morning Session
The Coastal Bengals from the Mid South Region have reached the National level of competition for the past 9 years according to their Head Coach. In order to help get the team here, they partake in multiple fundraisers including (but not limited to), Lottery Raffles and Coupon Cards. The Community supports their efforts significantly, and is extremely proud at the level of excellence and representation that these athletes provide at the National level. 
All of the coaches and athletes feel that their dance portion of the routine is the best part. They have worked hard to perfect their moves and can’t wait to show them off.
With the new setup at ESPN, the Coaches are happy and relieved about the new practice set up. This new setup keeps the stress level and noise down where it is possible for the athletes to remain focused in their routine.
The team is excited to do many things while in Disney, but they are most excited to go see the sights and rides at Walt Disney World. There is an array of variation as to which ride they are for he most excited about. Splash Mountain, Thunder Mountain, who knows? 


SOUTHWEST REGION SPOTLIGHT:
Monday Morning Session
"We are strong alone and unstoppable together!" That's the team motto for the Four Points Vipers from Austin Texas.  The Jr. Pee Wee PW3 team is very excited to be here in Orlando. No strangers to the national championships, this is the third year advancing for many of these performers. 
You ask what they love most about traveling to Disney? Why the parks and shopping of course! But it is not all fun and games here for them.  Three years ago the JPW team from Four Points captured the National Title, and they are definitely looking for a repeat.
Like most teams, it takes much fund raising to travel. They worked the concession stands, sell gator aide, candy, potato chips. We were so successful with our fund raising that each family was given $200.00 for our trip.  
Good Luck Four Points Vipers!

 

SOUTHEAST REGION SPOTLIGHT- Monday Morning Session
Show Up and Show Out!
What happens when you have a team with a motto that describes their performance? The Richmond Perrine Giants JPW showed the crowd exacting what it means to show up and show out with a capital T! This is the team’s first time attending Nationals and they came to put on a show.  “Preparation is everything,” said the coaches. A shining example of this is fund raising for Nationals since the beginning of the season. The girls were willing to put in the work to get to here.  With seven of the most dedicated coaches a team could have the Giants are keep motivated and encouraged.  This became the most important part of the day because the girls will soon find out that today was a tribute to family.  The coaches decided to not disclose the tragedy to keep the girls focused on the hard work it took to get here as well as having fun. With a combination of new first-time cheerleaders and several seasoned cheerleaders with a variety of spunky personalities they still need a hype man, or should I say woman.  Coach NeeNee swooped right in right before they hit the floor with words of inspiration and a prayer.  She reminded the team to remove all doubt because there isn’t anything they can’t do when they put their minds to it.  The Giants are also planning to stay at Disney to support their other teams who will be performing.  I guess for the Richmond Perrine Giants JPW you could say “When life gives you lemons you make cheer-ade!”  


THAT'S THE WAY TO OPEN THE 2018 NATIONAL POP WARNER CHAMPIONSHIPS

The opening of the National Championships did not disappoint! Thirty-two teams ran the red carpet to the blue mat yesterday in the Tiny-Mite and Mitey Mite exhibition performances in the HP Fieldhouse. And boy did they shine. These 5-8 year olds had all the smiles, sass and attitudes the older teams do. So mature beyond their years. These teams were offered the same experience as the competitive teams, including practice the day prior, the quiet room, and Parade of Champions. Probably their most favorite part of the day...the Tailgate Party at THE ARENA after that consisted of lots of food and fun. Face painting, character pictures, Mickey Mouse ice cream and a DJ playing dance music provided an outlet for any extra energy they may have had left after their performance. 
New to Pop Warner this year was the ability to declare a Mighty-Mite League Champion. This definitely contributed to the increased performance level shown during their routines.  Many coaches feel grooming these young athletes for competition earlier has increased their retention of cheerleaders.  Although they were unable to compete, many regions invited Mitey Mite teams to perform exhibition at the Regional events, to let them get a taste of the competitive spirit. 
Seven of the eight regions were represented and included PW1, PW2, Theme dance, Hip Hop and Sideline Performance cheer.
These tiny power houses are the future of our programs, and our future is looking BRIGHT! 

EASTERN REGION SPOTLIGHT: Saturday
The Plainfield Lady Cardinals Tiny Mites proudly represented the Eastern Region during the Tiny Mite - Mitey Mite Cheer and Dance Exhibition. This cheer squad started the season with 10 athletes and finished their journey to Nationals just four; Layla (aka Baby Bopp), Faith, Aaria and Alevin (aka “Tootie).  Coaching staff comprises of Head Coach Quedah, Assistant Coach Aliya, Assistant Coach Mercedes and Chawanda Tucker, the Association  Coordinator.  Together they fund raised their trip via Crispy Cream sales and canning.The biggest challenge the coaching staff overcame during the season was change of the routine when its members dwindled from 10, then 6, to 5, until its final 4-all being five years old.  Their biggest accomplishment was the teams ability to stunt with limited coordination and short attention spans. These coaches are truly dedicated to their team. The girls favorite thing to do is cheer. They love to jump, flip, do splits and compete. They said the hardest things to overcome during practice was stopping the noise (chatting and giggling), attendance, staying still and being loud when cheering. They were quick to learn that when a coach says “PLC” it meant to start the routine from the cheer-the beginning. They started today with checking in, 10 minutes on stretch mats where they warmed up with stretching, jumping and tumbling. Then it was onto the practice mat where they had another 10 minutes to practice their routine before heading to the performance mat. After that it was onto the mat to show off their hard work to their biggest fans-Coaches, Family, and Friends. These four little girls gave it their all and performed a thumbs up performance.  Great job ladies. Enjoy your team pool party! Quick facts about these four lovely ladies.  When watching cable tv, the shows to watch are Mickey and Minnie and Paw Patrol. However, when watching YouTube, the must watch shows are: Slime Show, LOL, and T Dobre Bros. Their favorite princes are Rapunzel, Belle and Snow White.



NEW ENGLAND REGION SPOTLIGHT
-Saturday
The Waterbury Patriots Tiny Mites have arrived and are ready to cheer at Nationals for the first time as a team.  Traveling from Connecticut and part of the New England Region, are ten young ladies, ages 5 and 6 that make up this team.  Two sets of sisters make up this team, one set being twins.  Both sets of sisters also have a brother playing football today in the Mitey Mite Bowl today.  They plan to head back to the field and cheer them on after their performance.  Since arriving in Florida, the girls have enjoyed going to the parks with the Voyage of the Little Mermaid a team favorite.  They also enjoy swimming in the pool and look forward to that after the Party today.  For fundraising they held a donut sale and a dance.  We wish them the best of luck. 


MID AMERICA REGION SPOTLIGHT
- Saturday
Welcome Tri Town Raiderettes from Northern Indiana Pop Warner!!!
For this team of very excited Tiny Mites, it is not their first visit here at the National Championships. For the second year, this vivacious group has entertained the crowd at the HP Fieldhouse.  But what are they most excited about you ask? They just want to go swimming in the hotel pool. But not until after the Tailgate Party when Minnie and Mickie will sign their T-shirts, and they have Mickey Mouse ice cream!  
They are not just team mates. not even just friends.  They are Dance Sisters!.  "We have so much fun together and see each other every day.  We hang out together in the summer doing a lot of fun things, like rock painting."
This confident co-ed team with two boys "just love to dance. We know we are winners already as we are at nationals, which makes us a winner.  Next year we are moving to Mitey Mites."
We can't wit to watch you grow through the Pop Warner program Tri Town!


SOUTHEAST REGION SPOTLIGHT
: Saturday
Florida Panhandle Strong! 
Hurricane Michael was one of the most powerful and destructive storms to ever hit Florida. It made landfall and ripped through the Panhandle leveling everything in its path.  While waiting to see what the destruction would bring, the eye of the storm took a turn from Crestview towards Panama City.  The Hub City Bulldogs Mitey Mite team was spared the brunt of the storm but sprang into action to help their community and fellow associations.  Coaches Earline and Crissi through sheer dedication to the team and the community       continued to keep the team motivated and the girls wanted to continue the season preparing for the Regional and National Competitions.  While fund raising, gathering donations and being granted sponsorships the team was still able to conduct Hurricane relief efforts to help their surrounding community.  Coach Earline made great use of the time given before the team’s performance by bringing the girls together for what she called a “A Performance Cheer Prayer”.  The beautiful words of the prayer and the additional motivational words would remind the girls of their goal during the season which was to make it to nationals. Watching the coaches interact with the girls illuminates the love, support and pride of the Southeast Region. The team is Blessed not to have any displaced families due to the storm but continues to pray for the fellow associations and their league.  The coaches are very grateful for their wonderful parents and the awesome experience of Disney. 



MID-AMERICA REGION SPOTLIGHT: Saturday
For the Love of Dance!
The Cleveland Rams Mitey Mite Theme Dance team is proud to attend the 2018 National Cheer and Dance Championships Tiny Mite – Mitey Mite Cheer and Dance Divisions day of performances.  This team has five coaches and describes this group of girls as a spunky and tenacious group of young ladies that they are proud to represent.  The many personalities can be a challenge, but the girls will always come together as one to assure a fabulous performance.  The coaches agree the girls are easy to teach and they love what they do.  It seems as if it comes natural to the girls.  To reduce the stress of any funding barriers team is completely supported by the parents who diligently raised the funds for the girls to attend the National Cheer and Dance event.  I guess the old saying of “It takes a Village” rings true for the Cleveland Rams Mitey Mite Theme Dance team!


Welcome to the 2018 Pop Warner National Championships. We have a packed event for you this year! More than 550 performances consisting of 101 dance routines, the new Sideline Performance Cheer division, YouTube live streaming, and so much more! Check back often to get the inside scoop on our featured Region Media Teams, human interest stories from across the country, and of course the daily recap.  Also, don't forget to check out the photos uploaded after each session.
The event opens with the dazzling exhibition performances from our youngest stars, the Tiny Mite and Mitey Mites.  32 teams from across the country all excited to "take the floor". We hope you visit often, and please, share the page.  See you soon!

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