Cheerleaders Place 4th in Nationals


The Streak Cheerleading Team’s is all smiles after their win at the national championships in Orlando. Congratulations to:Sydney Adetula, Hailey Anderson, Sophia Belmonte, Gabriella Briganti, Olivia Claffey, Kaitlyn DeGeorge, Danika Elbaum, Rebecca Hiller, Rylan Hult, Madison McKenna, Izabel Metelski, Brooke Nelson, Mia Nisivoccia, Matea Pagano, Olivia Piccione, Emily Read, Ava Rhinehart, Rylee Rhinehart, Renee Simeus, Josephine Suarez, Natasha Waslik, Valentina Waslilik. (Photo courtesy of Kimberlee Sweet)

Samantha Smith and Rylee Rhinehart

The Warren Hills Varsity Competition Cheerleading Team placed fourth in the Universal Cheerleading Association’s National HIgh School Cheerleading Championship (NHSCC) in early February.
The team had been training since August for a final performance on the national stage and had also been successful in their local competitions leading up to nationals.
In early December, the team placed first in their regional competition, where they also received a bid to compete in Orlando. The team also picked up a Hunterdon-Warren-Sussex championship title in mid-December, with North Hunterdon and Hunterdon Central as their top competitors. Varsity cheerleader Ava Rhinehart said that during the national competition, the team had to go through two rounds of qualifications to make it through to the final day. Having scored a certain amount, they then advanced to the semi-final round, with the competition taking the top ten teams to the final day.
“The team was hoping to advance through both rounds and there were hundreds of high schools that were going head to head to win,” she said. “When a cheerleading team wins nationals, they receive medals, a trophy and the infamous white jacket. Winning is an achievement that will forever stay with you throughout your life. The team part of cheerleading is the most important because it is not one person being scored, it is everyone together.”
In an email message sent to the Warren Hills community, Head Coach Kimberlee Sweet said, “We are proud to announce that our team placed fourth in the nation in a VERY competitive division. They competed in three rounds to get to the finals and performed three near-perfect routines. We are extremely proud of this accomplishment. We are also super grateful for getting the opportunity to represent our school and community.”
The achievement was especially notable this year because the cheer team had its share of COVID restrictions and quarantines to deal with during the last two years.
But as varsity cheerleader Emily Read explained, the team was determined to win.
“We have been preparing for NHSCC competition all year,” she said.
“We prepared for this competition with several local competitions throughout the season and our regional competition which determined that we were eligible to compete there.”
Varsity cheerleader Kaitltyn DeGeorge agreed.
“Just making it to the competition itself was a huge accomplishment. There were 33 teams in our division and we ended up placing fourth,” she said. “Sometimes those long practices of repping stunts and tumbling feel like they will never end, but the second I step out onto the mat it instantly becomes worth it. There’s no better feeling than running out onto the mat with all your best friends knowing you’re about to give it all you got.”