ORLANDO, Fla. — The Covington High School cheerleading squad is currently in Orlando to compete in the Universal Cheerleaders Association’s National High School Cheerleading Championship at Walt Disney World.
The team of 12 girls, in grades ninth through 12th, along with coaches Nicole Whiteman and Gretchen Schmidt, departed from Covington this past Wednesday and will return Tuesday, Feb. 11.
In order to qualify for the national competition, the team held a UCA camp on-site at the Covington High School in the beginning of October 2019.
According to Whiteman, UCA representatives attended the camp and served as judges, granting the squad the highest rating of superior.
Later in October, the girls attended a qualifier in Centerville and received a bid to go onto nationals.
“We are a small varsity non-building team, (and) we compete against Divison I teams,” Whiteman said. “We are in a division that does not consider the size of your school, but the size of your team, which means we compete against schools that are much larger than ours.”
While in Florida, the team will participate in two different contests. The first, which was held Friday, required the team to perform a “game day/situational” routine, Whiteman said. In this round, the team competed against 14 other teams.
“They have to do a ‘band dance,’ or something that goes along with the band, and they’re given a situational scenario,” she said.
The “situational scenario” includes a hypothetical situation for the girls to consider in order for them to perform as though they are at a football game.
In the traditional competition, the team will face up against 20 teams. This routine will involve more dance and tumbling, Whiteman said. The girls will participate in this routine on Sunday.
“This is the first year Covington has performed in this competition in a long time,” Whiteman said. “We could tell that this group of girls just really gel well together, they’re very committed, and they’re just really strong this year.”