The Bridgewater-Raritan Junior Pee Wee, Pee Wee and Midgets competitive cheer squads participated in the National Cheer and Dance Championships at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Orlando Dec. 3 through Dec. 8.
The Junior Pee Wee squad brought home the second place trophy in the Large Intermediate category, while the Pee Wee team brought home the third place trophy in the Small Novice category.
The Midget team, competing for its sixth consecutive year, brought home the second place trophy in the Small Advanced category.
All teams competed against the qualifying teams from across the nation and truly showed their spirit and talent to receive these awards.
The girls began their competitive season on Oct. 20, in the Mountain Valley Conference competition at Scotch Plains-Fanwood High School, where they all qualified to advance to the Central Jersey Qualifier at the Sun Bank Arena in Trenton on Nov. 11.
The Central Jersey Qualifier includes Pop Warner cheer squads from Central Jersey, the Jersey Shore and Mountain Valley Conferences.
The girls placed again, advancing them to the Eastern Regional Competition, again at Sun Bank Arena in Trenton, on Nov. 17 and Nov. 18. The teams taking first or second place from each region were then invited to perform at the National Championship.
At each competition, the squads perform a routine composed of cheering, dance, tumbling and stunting, which determines in which category of difficulty they will compete. They are judged on a variety of criteria, including choreography, stunts, jumps, tumbling, execution and timing, with a potential maximum score of 100.
“I am fortunate to have joined all of my teams in their journey this year and proud of each and every one them and their coaches," said Bridgewater-Raritan Pop Warner Spirit Commissioner Brooke Herbst. "They have worked very hard to regroup after each competition to tweak their routines to the next level, and overcome any obstacles to be as competitive as possible, and they truly performed from their hearts. They are a testament to our program and are our champions.”