Douglas High School’s seventh place finish at the UCA National Championship in the Small Varsity Game Day Division II competition in Orlando, Florida, wasn’t what the cheer team hoped for, but head coach Amie Baker said it was a finish to be proud of.
Baker said the team started the year with high expectations after qualifying for nationals by finishing as runner-up at the UCA Regionals competition.
“Once in Orlando for nationals, we performed in the semifinal rounds,” Baker said. “We hit our routine, but [we] could tell the girls were nervous, and we had a few first time competitors out there. We ranked fifth in our division headed into finals.
In the finals, Baker said the team seemed to come alive. The routine was going well and everyone was excited for a big finish, but then something went wrong.
“Anticipation led up to the final pyramid and one side got off count, confused and didn’t go up to hit the pyramid,” Baker recounted. “It was a bit disappointing watching the routine really take off and seeing the excitement in the girls’ eyes, then to see the excitement drop in their faces once the routine was over.”
Once the routine was finished, Baker said she and the coaching staff didn’t know what to do or say to the team — all they could do was encourage them.
“We didn’t really know how to approach the girls besides just saying the routine was in the past, mistakes were made but can learn from them, and that they approached the routine as a team and will continue to be a team,” she said. “And we were proud of them still.
“At awards, we received seventh place with our heads held high,” Baker added.
Before nationals, the team placed 10th out of 32 teams at the 4A/5A State competition.