Cheerleaders take seventh in nation

In what has become a tradition, the Oak Harbor cheerleaders proved yet again they are one of the top programs in the nation when they competed at the USA Nationals in Anaheim, Calif. last weekend.

Out of 20 teams in their preliminary division, the Cats were one of only eight squads to advance to the finals, where they received seventh place overall on Sunday afternoon. California’s Ramona High School went on to claim the national title.

“Making the finals was our goal,” head coach Pam Headridge said. “We did it last year so we wanted to do it again.”

This was the tenth ever trip to the USA Nationals but only the second time in their history they have made it to the finals. Last year the Wildcats received their highest finish ever, taking fifth place.

Oak Harbor was the only high school from Washington State in the cheer division and they represented well against difficult competition.

“I was very proud of the cheerleaders,” Headridge said. “I could not believe the difficulty level of all the teams. Everyone seemed to have full tumbling squads with double-down cradles out of every pyramid.”

Out of the 23 cheerleaders the Cats brought, it was the first time performing under such a large spotlight for 13 of them.

“Despite the majority of the team being new, nerves did not prevent them from performing an outstanding routine both in the prelims and the finals,” Headridge said.

Nationals was the last high school competition for seven Oak Harbor girls. Seniors Vanessa Armstrong, Kristin Acton, Anna Galgana, Megan Stump, Tiffany Richards, Kimberly Boon and Kristin Loan will all be graduating this spring. Other members of the team were, Alicia Groberg, Cassy Cooley, Devon Shulock, Katie Wright, Megan Longland, Madison Nikkola, Lauren Acton, Dani Bulton, Lauren Jett, Brittany Warner, Jessica Gilbert, Hannah Berry, Ashley Howard, Tiffany Bourlet, Amanda Wadinski and Natalie Lumbo.

The three-day national event, which drew thousands of cheerleaders from over 300 schools across the country, will be aired late this summer on Fox Sports Net. There has been no specific date or time scheduled yet.

The national competition wrapped up an impressive season for the Oak Harbor cheerleading team. Along with their seventh place finish in Anaheim, the Cats received five first place finishes and one second place finish at the Northwest Championships.

Next for the Cat cheerleaders is their annual banquett, which will be held April 17.

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