Published on January 6th, 2014 | by Kim Conley
All Access with Hailey: Happy New Year!
Happy New Year AC readers! It is now 2014, and Nationals season is approaching fast! A lot has happened this past month, and it is definitely good news! On December 8th, Orange attended the one-day CHEERSPORT Atlanta Grand Championship, and we succeeded in winning our gym another championship title! Orange had a much stronger showing than last month, and it was great practice for the following weekend, which would be our first attempt at a Worlds bid for the season!
The WSF Triple Crown Showdown was the competition that would happen the next weekend, December 14-15. It was a two-day championship and bid event. For the first time ever, this event was held in Louisville, Kentucky. It was also the first WSF event that I have personally attended with Stingrays, so there was a lot to be excited about! Plus, it was my first visit to Louisville!
On the first day of the competition, Orange had a pretty rough performance. Going into day 2, we were in first place, but we would need to have a very strong performance if we were going to get the Worlds bid. We ended up having our best performance so far this year and went into awards with confidence. Thankfully, we wowed the judges enough to be awarded a full paid Worlds bid, along with Steel, Stingrays’ Large Coed Level 5 team! Peach managed to win first place in the Medium All Girl Level 5 division, and Slate won second in a very stacked Small Senior Coed 5 division! Stingrays gained 18 1st place finishes, four 2nd place finishes, one 4th and one 9th place finish. Stingrays also acquired two Summit full paid bids and two Worlds full paid bids! In addition, one of our teams received a Last Pass award. We were named Grand Champions in level 1, level 2 and level 5, and Orange won Grand Champion of the entire competition (also known as the Triple Crown Award)! This weekend was one of my most memorable experiences as a Stingray Allstar. It was a great weekend to be a Ray and an amazing way to go into Christmas break!
As we moved into the holiday break, Orange celebrated with our annual Christmas party and gift exchange. Every year we get dressed up and meet at someone’s house, and we purchase a gift for a team member that we drew from a hat. Our secret Santa gift exchange has been an annual tradition for as long as I can remember! We also show our appreciation for our coaches and our team mom, and we are given a gift as a team. This year, our Orange team gift was spirit jerseys, which have “Orange Crush” printed on the back. I am in love with them! We also received a necklace engraved with “OC4L” on it. They are both items that I will cherish forever! I am so thankful to be a part of such an amazing team with such amazing parents and coaches.
Even though it was holiday break for most programs, Orange paired up with Steel for some intense conditioning practices. Instead of a time to rest, it became a time for improvement! I can honestly say I am in better shape after Christmas break than I was before because of the hard workouts that our coaches put us through. Now that we are in January, we are preparing for the two-day Athletic Championship in Chattanooga, Tennessee. I cannot wait to perform again with my team. I am so excited to see what 2014 has in store for us!