For the first time since 2014, Vandebilt Catholic High School cheerleaders are national champions.
The Terriers secured the gold at the 2021 UCA National High School Cheerleading Championship at the Walt Disney World Resort.
The 28-member squad competed in the semifinal round on Friday and then in the finals on Sunday. Judges combined 50 percent of each round to give the team their final ranking in the Super Varsity Game Day Division II national competition.
“We were first coming out of semis — which we have been for the last couple of years but have dropped in finals usually. This year, they knew that they didn’t want that to happen again, so they took care of business in both rounds,” said coach Kayla Vicknair.
When officials announced the results virtually, Vicknair said, a lot was going through her mind.
“Seeing their reaction just makes everything that you do as a coach worth it — to see the excitement and joy in their eyes,” she said. “…One of the main things [she thought about] was every team before this team that didn’t get this opportunity because we’ve always been very, very close. To see their excitement…made me think about those girls that came before them that actually have built our program up to where it is today.”
In her 10th year as coach, Vicknair touched on the challenges of this past season with quarantines and canceled practices caused by the novel coronavirus.
“For me, every day was trying to find a way to keep the girls going,” she said. “We’re fortunate this year that we have a great and excellent group of seniors that I felt were always positive, always keeping the girls going. They helped tremendously.”
Vandebilt Catholic’s cheerleading program is a powerhouse with seven consecutive state titles. This is the second national title for the Terriers.
“I just would like to thank our administration and my athletic director for allowing us the opportunity to come to nationals. A lot of teams in our state as well as across the country were not allowed this opportunity to compete in person,” Vicknair added. “They gave the girls something that they’re going to remember for a lifetime.”