Hundreds of football and cheerleading teams from around the country are all gathering in Florida for the 2012 Pop Warner National Championships. And for one young cheerleading team, there's a lot of pressure to do well. Marcy-Deerfield Thunder is the first team to ever make it to the Nationals in the Tri-Valley Region, covering the Mohawk Valley. But after months of preparation, nine young cheerleaders and their coaches tell our Cara Thomas that they're ready to bring home the title.
DEERFIELD, N.Y. -- "Marcy-Deerfield Thunder coming from Tri-Valley. Heading to Nationals for the first time in history," chant nine young cheerleaders.
It's a momentous year for the Tri-Valley region as their first team ever has made it to the Pop Warner National Championships in Florida: Marcy-Deerfield's Junior PeeWee Cheerleading Team.
Gianna Filletti, a members of the team, said, "When we found out, we were at the competition in New Jersey, so we all just jumped up and down and screamed. I only heard the first 'M,' like Marcy and I just like jumped up and screamed. I was really shocked and excited."
"I think the whole area is really excited. The girls have worked, they work really hard," said Lisa Weller, the team's head coach.
On August 1st, practices began. They learned a routine and cheer, while also mastering their stunts, tumbling and pyramids. And now they say they're ready to compete.
Another young cheerleader, Chloe Weller, said, "We've been practicing really hard, three nights a week for like two hours."
Their routine is two-and-a-half minutes long, starting with a cheer and ending with a dance routine.
Marcy-Deerfield's cheerleaders will be competing against six other teams in their division. While they say they have no idea what to expect, they're feeling pretty confident and excited to represent their region.
"I think it'll mean a lot to the whole Tri-Valley because not only us going to Florida for the first time, but winning would be a lot," said Filletti.
"We're hoping to go there and win, bring home a championship for Tri-Valley," said Coach Weller.
Even after the championship is over, the team says they'll still need support. This is an expensive trip. It costs more than $1,000 per cheerleader. Parents and coaches say they still need to raise about $4,000 to reach their goal.
"We've done our part, now we need you. We're asking for your help. We 'd like to say thank you," the girls cheer.
The team flew down on Saturday and will be competing on Monday for the coveted national title, along with numerous other teams from our viewing area.
From the Central New York Region:
- Valley Stallions Peewee Football Team
- Cicero Falcons Mitey Mite Football Team
- Clay Panthers Mitey Mite Cheerleaders
- Fayetteville-Manlius Peewee Cheerleaders
- Cicero Falcons Midget Cheerleaders
- Eastwood Junior Midget Cheerleaders
From the Tri Valley Region:
- Marcy-Deerfield Junior PeeWee Cheerleading Team
From the Greater Watertown Region:
- Dexter PeeWee Cheerleading Team