LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - Ten miles is all that separates three Bullitt County schools and their cheer squads that won national championship titles this year.
“It feels like it’s not real yet,” Avery Lee, a senior at Bullitt Central High said about winning the first national cheer championship title in the school’s history. “It’s emotional because there were points in the season where we didn’t think we would step on the mat, and to be able to put that together in a pandemic with constant quarantines and constant not being able to practice really shows a lot about the team you’re on and how much you’re willing to push to be the best.”
Bullitt Central’s assistant cheer coach, James Moore told WAVE 3 News squads were given the option to compete in-person or virtually at nationals, and the team decided a virtual performance would be the best way to ensure they could compete.
The cheerleaders performed the routine full out countless times trying to get the perfect take while Moore video taped them.
“Taping is grueling,” Moore said. “It was really a mindset for the kids to come in and know we might do this routine four or five times tonight, but we’re really going for that perfect routine.”
Lee told WAVE 3 News all the hard work paid off.
“A lot of people work their whole life to win a national championship, and I know personally I’ve worked five whole years to win a national championship and once you hear you name called, I’m still on cloud nine about it,” Lee said.
The Bullitt Central cheer squad found out they won the school’s first national cheer title during a livestreamed award ceremony.
Meanwhile, Bullitt East High’s cheer squad took home a second national victory in a row this year, but not without intense training and practice first.
“We did have half a deduction in semi’s, so seeing those other teams we knew we had to step up our game and not just hit, but hit perfect,” Makayla McMichael, a senior on Bullitt East’s cheer squad said. “(The wins) really make us the cheer capital of Kentucky.”
The team with the most trophies, however is Eastside Middle School’s cheer squad, which has nine national titles under their belts. This year’s win marks the team’s sixth national victory in a row.
“There were times that we didn’t even think that we would make it onto the competition floor, so getting a shortened season where we had to really hit crunch time to get the skills and to get at that level where we needed to be was pretty sweet to do that in a short amount of time and have this outcome,” Jay Kirk, Eastern Middle’s cheer coach said.
What’s even sweeter, all three squads cheered each other on while the teams filmed their videos for the national championships. Kirk told WAVE 3 News having the other squads present helped all of their overall performances.
“These cheerleaders are used to performing in front of a crowd; they feed off the energy of the people they’re performing for,” Kirk said. “Half of those performances that we video taped, we were just in a gym and they were performing in front of a couple alternates and us coaches. Being able to meet together at Gymtyme South or any of our schools we were able to cheer each other on.”
Eastside Middle’s cheer season has come to a close, but the girls will continue to practice year-round.
Bullitt Central cheerleaders plan to compete in the upcoming state competition in-person for the first time in a while.