All-Star Cheer gym, Power Cheer & Tumble from King, competed in the Christian Cheerleaders of America (CCA) Nationals cheer competition in Fayetteville, N.C. from Thursday, March 2 until Saturday, March 4 and came home with four of their five teams winning the division levels for a national championship in the CCA competition.
“We are very proud of all of our teams,” said Saleen Gardner, co-owner and coach of PCT. “We expect our teams to be competitive and do what they can do and let the results fall where they may. Our girls work hard every day and we knew if they did their best what the results could be. All five of our teams hit zero deductions on their routines with three of them hitting zero on both Friday and Saturday.”
On Thursday, the competition started with a dinner, praise and worship, and then the announcement of the coach of the year. The stunt teams competed afterwards for the first event of the competition. During the coaches awards presentation coaches and co-owners of PCT were awarded CCA National Co-Coaches of the Year.
“We are very humbled and honored by this award,” commented co-owner Julie Money. “Saleen and I never expected it in a million years. We do what we do because we love kids and coaching cheerleading. We started PCT as a ministry tied in with cheerleading to help expose kids to praying and what having a devotion means. Today kids struggle with some of the same stuff we were exposed to as kids, but in a different way. We want to help make a difference in their lives in a spiritual way, so they can manage their struggles.”
PCT had four teams to compete in the stunt competition and all four won their levels for a national championship. Addison Tuttle, Aleigha McFarland, Blayre Rutherford, and McKenzie Wright won the All-Start Tiny Level 1; Audrie Snow, Emmerson Adams, Izzy Wilson, Jayda Thompson, and Logan Wood won at the All-Star Youth Level 2; Amanda Quarles, Tayler Phillips, Brittney Phillips, Kylee Foster, and Grace Haithcock won All-Star Junior Level 2; and Carson Birchfield, Kaci Gentry, Kenzie Stanley, and Mikayla Nixon won the All-Star Senior Level 4.
On Friday, the day started with solo and duo competitions. Alayna Davis came in second in the Solo Tumbling division, while her sisters Alyssa and Ava won their duo competition in the Elementary Non-Tumbling division.
AnaLee Phillips and Izzy Wilson won the Intermediate Non-tumbling division, while Audrie Snow and Emmerson Adams came in second in the same division. Tayler Phillips and Logan Wood won the Junior Non-Tumbling division, while teammates Brittney Phillips and Jayda Thompson came in second.
PCT teams winning national championships were PCT Sparklers in the All-Star Small Tiny 1 Level; PCT Firecrackers in the All-Star Small Mini Level 1; PCT Explosion in the All-Star Small Junior Level 2; and PCT Fusion in the All-Star Senior Level 1. PCT Blaze came in third behind some very stiff competition in the All-Star Small Youth Level 1 Division with Myrtle Beach All-Stars winning.
PCT also won a few more banners to hang in the gym. PCT Jr. Explosion was awarded the National Championship for the All-Stars Level 2 division and PCT Fusion was awarded the best dance choreography of all of the All-Star teams that participated during the weekend. The gym was also received an invitation to the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York and the Junior Explosion team received a paid Gold Bid to The One World Bermuda competition in Bermuda.
“It was a magical weekend,” exclaimed Gardner. “We could not image it going any better.”
“I think the thing I’m most proud of is the award for the dance choreography for our junior team,” stated Money. “Of course I’m proud of the girls’ accomplishments and the national championships we are coming home with, but as a mom, to know Saleen choreographed all of our routines and received recognition for it, makes me and her dad so proud of her. She works hard and it is not the easiest thing to come up with five different routines for five different teams, but she does it with ease.”
PCT won second place in one more division, the parent team division.
“We just didn’t want to get anyone hurt,” said Gardner with a laugh. “Our parents had fun practicing for it and then performing it. To think we came in second out of six teams was amazing to us. The judges scored us like the girls and we did surprisingly well. We have already had parents wanting to start earlier for next season and add some stuff. It looks like we will be having another parent team for nationals next year.”
PCT has one more competition of the season, the U.S. Finals in Virginia Beach during the first weekend of May. They received the bid when PCT Fusion and PCT Explosion performed at the One World Trade Center in Atlanta, Ga. in December at the CheerSport Regionals.
“On top of the last competition we have, we are performing at the March for Babies walk on April 22 in Winston-Salem,” said Gardner. “We want our girls to understand that some people don’t have it so lucky. It is important to us that they do volunteer work and understand what it means. The March for Babies is near and dear to my family’s heart with the loss of my niece Addalyn Leigh Wilson to a premature birth back in 2010. So, we ask the girls to help us and celebrate her life by raising money for the March of Dimes, and hopefully one day families will not have to go through what we had to do. My sister (Elizabeth Wilson) is a strong woman and I don’t know if I could have endured what she has. ”
Robert Money can be reached at 336-749-1193.