“Let’s work” is their motto, and apparently the work paid off.
Coupled with dedication, determination and a strong support system from their school and their parents, hard work propelled the Overhills High School Jaguars varsity cheer team to victory last weekend.
The Jaguars took home the trophy and the championship title at the Cheer Ltd. Nationals CANAM Cheer Competition held at the Myrtle Beach Convention Center in Myrtle Beach, S.C., Friday to Sunday. The Jaguars competed in several, regional and state-level cheer competitions in 2012 and 2013, leading up to the Nationals, each time finishing in second place.
It wasn’t until the Nationals did they finally break their second-place streak, taking home the first-place trophy in the large high school co-ed cheer team division. Additionally, each cheerleader was presented with Olympic-sized medals and a championship jacket.
Overhills High School principal, Kylon Jerome Middleton, along with dozens of parents, many of whom are Soldiers, Army civilians and contractors at Fort Bragg, attended the competition to show their support, cheering on the cheerleaders as they performed throughout the weekend.
Lt. Col. Stewart Taylor, operations officer at U.S. Army Forces Command headquarters and the father of senior cheerleader Asia Taylor said cheerleading and supporting cheerleading is serious stuff.
“Cheerleading is an athletic program that instills leadership and builds confidence. Every time they hit the mat, they have to work as a singular unit and remain motivated no matter what,” Taylor said.
Four of the cheer team’s biggest supporters are coach Vickie Counsil, coach KaToya Mitchell, team manager Terrencia McLean and choreographer Jerome Bacon. They spent hundreds of hours preparing the team for the numerous events, working with them on their routine and pushing the cheerleaders to perform to their very best.
“We couldn’t have done it without our coaches, manager and choreographer,” said high school senior Kensey Covert.
“They kept us motivated when we were down and calm when we were nervous. They helped us to adjust our routine when many of us were injured or out sick. But most importantly, they taught us how to use our drive and determination to win a national title,” said Covert, who is the daughter of Maj. Anthony Covert, a military intelligence officer at Joint Special Operations Command.
Getting second place in competition after competition, but then finally winning one – and it’s the Nationals – means more than anyone can ever imagine, said Jameesa Walker, a high school senior and team captain. For the team, late night practices, hard work and tears of frustration all paid off in the end.