All Star

Published on February 13th, 2014 | by Kim Conley

All Access with Hailey: Nationals Prep!

Hello again AC readers!  I hope you are staying warm this winter!  Atlanta has had a very cold winter so far, which makes me so glad that I was able to turn in a whole stack of warm blankets that I collected through Rays to MUST Ministries and Calvary Childrens Home.  We even had SNOW, which doesn’t happen very often!  I am so grateful to all the Stingrays who were able to help by donating their old CHEERSPORT blankets to help keep our community neighbors warm during this unusual southern winter.  I really do belong to the greatest all star gym in the world!

Despite the cold, things have really heated up at Stingrays!  January is always a crazy month for our teams because we are busy preparing for all of the upcoming National competitions.  The first few weeks of January we worked really hard just to get everyone back in shape after the Christmas break.  This year was probably the strongest Orange has ever been coming off of break because our coaches put us through such hard practices while school was out.  But we still had quite a bit of work to do before the Athletic Championships, a two-day event in Chattanooga, TN on January 18-19th.  Orange had awesome performances on both days, and we won Grand Champions of the entire competition!!  I could not have been more proud to be part of such a great team!

The rest of January was spent preparing for the NCA Atlanta Classic, a one-day competition that was held on February 2nd.  A few changes were made to the routine to help increase our scores as much as possible.  Normally, Orange uses this competition to test out our NCA score in order to prepare for NCA Nationals, but this year the stakes were a little bit higher.  The reigning World Champion team in Large Senior was also attending – Cheer Extreme Senior Elite.  It was so exciting to have the two reigning World Champion teams going head-to-head!  We knew we would have to bring our best to win.  Both teams had good performances with a few errors, and the scores were close.  But in the end, Orange came out on top!  We know that with the high level of talent in this division it can be anyone’s day, and we will have to be on our A-game at every event.

So now we are into February and this is, by far, the most intense month in the gym.  All of our teams are pushing hard to hit perfect routines in preparation for CHEERSPORT Nationals and NCA Nationals.  Every February, Stingrays has a “Hit Parade” where we keep track of how many “hits” all of the teams can get through NCA Nationals.  Each time a team hits their full-out routine, they get to go on the “hits” board.  It’s a great way to keep all of the athletes motivated to work hard and win those jackets!

CHEERSPORT Nationals is always a lot of fun because it’s right here in our backyard.  We have lots of teams come practice on the Friday before CHEERSPORT, and we also have a lot of Stingray fans stop by the gym to say hello, buy Stingrays t-shirts and check out the gym.  This year I will be hosting a table on CHEERSPORT Friday at Stingrays Marietta, where I’ll be selling canvases, bracelets, necklaces and coffee mugs to raise money for the House of Hope orphanage in Haiti. So if you’re here, please stop in to say hello!  I look forward to seeing everyone this month at CHEERSPORT and NCA Nationals!  And we hope to see you in the audience when Orange competes at these prestigious events!  Let’s go Rays, and go Orange!


-Hailey Bednar

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About the Author

Managing Editor of American Cheerleader Magazine. Former cheerleader at The Ohio State University and UCA Staffer.

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