The big stage was not too big of a spotlight for the New Braunfels High School cheerleading squad as the girls finished atop the rankings in their category at Nationals in Dallas on Jan. 20 and 21.
“We had never competed nationally, so we were going in a lot less nervous because we did not have any expectations,” said Head Coach Candace Dozier.
After finishing fourth at the University Interscholastic League (UIL) State Spirit competition the weekend prior, the Unicorn cheerleaders impressed judges once again. NBHS competed in the Large Game Day Varsity category of the National Cheerleaders Association (NCA) National event.
In the prelims, “We went up against about 30 teams, yet these teams were some of the best in the nation! Going up against them was definitely intimidating, especially since some of these teams we also competed against in UIL, or have reputations of winning in years past,” said senior cheerleader Jamesen Harvey.” Initially I felt the team was nervous, but it also made us want to work harder to do better so we could claim that reputation as well.”
The Unicorn cheerleaders qualified for Nationals during NCA camp in the summer. During camp NBHS competed against other teams in their division with a cheer, chant, and sideline performance where and were awarded first, second and third, earning the spot at Nationals.
“I really don’t think I could put into words how much hard work this team put into competing this year,” Harvey said. “From all my 4 years of being on the competition team, never have we ever had such a diligent and dedicated group of girls.”
Once the preparations were completed, NBHS was ready to present their hard work to the national audience.
“We always say to “go have a party on the mat” and that’s exactly what we did,” Harvey said. “Looking into the crowd and seeing so many fans and teams cheering for us was probably the best part!”
Nationals marked the end of the road for this year’s Unicorn competition squad, and as a team they were extremely happy with the result.
“Overjoyed!” Harvey said. “All the teams we competed against were so talented, and it’s crazy to think we could beat them and even come so close to winning.”
For Dozier, Harvey and the rest of the NBHS cheer girls - there couldn’t have been a better way to end a record-breaking season.
“This was the best way to end my cheer career, and I wouldn’t have wanted to do it with any other group of girls and coach,” Harvey added.