Cheer team finishes 6th in national competition

Published 12:59 am Tuesday, February 12, 2019

The Opp High School cheer squad finished sixth in the national in the UCA National High School Cheerleading Championship’s traditional category.

“I think the girls performed very well,” OHS cheer sponsor Lorrie Harrison said. “The entire weekend, out of four performances, we only had two drops. Out of four performances, that is a lot of stunts going up, so that is a really big deal.”

The team also competed in the game day category, but did not qualify for the semi-finals on Friday. Harrison said they didn’t let it get to their heads.

“After the first night when we didn’t advance in game day, they were a little bummed,” Harrison said. “We just kind of had to regroup. We went and changed into our practice clothes, went back to the field and started practicing for our traditional routine. We instantly went from not advancing in game day to practicing for traditional. We just had it in our head that we were going to prepare for traditional now. I mean, we are a traditional competition team so we needed to regroup, get our focus back and practice what we really came down here for.”

The Opp girls were the only group from Alabama in their division, and competed against other high school teams from California, Minnesota, New York, Pennsylvania, Louisiana, Mississippi and Florida.

“We were super excited to be able to represent Opp in this way,” Harrison said. “Of course, the girls were super excited to advance to the semi finals and then to finals. Just making it in to the finals was a big deal and then placing in the top 10 was even better.”

Last year, the team made it to the semi finals of the competition, but this year the team raised their level of difficulty to make sure they kept on going to the final round.

“We had a harder routine than last year,” Harrison said. “We also worked on technique and execution more this year than last year, to make sure that we raised our total score just so we would have a better chance of placing higher.”

This year’s seniors have progressively made it further in the national competition each year since their freshman year.

“I am beyond blessed to end it this way with these seniors,” Harrison said. “They were the first group to get to go to nationals as freshmen. They are the first group that can say they have gone all four years to nationals. When they were freshmen they just went and didn’t advance or anything, their sophomore year we went and didn’t advance again, their junior year they made it to the semis and then their senior year they made it to the finals in the top 10. Not only are they good cheerleaders, they are great girls.”