They’re going to Disney World!

Published 12:00 am Friday, February 6, 2004

Suffolk News-Herald

Attention Suffolk schoolteachers! Around the end of February, the list of female absentees in your classes may go through the roof!

Why? Because dozens of young Lady Suffolkians will be heading down to Disney World to represent their city to the rest of the country in the Americheer Nationals! Four teams of ladies ages 3-17 are making the trip, the most the local Suffolk Cheer Attitude (SCA) squad has ever sent to nationals.

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Let’s meet the competitors and hear some of their best work…

&uot;The team is here, the team with all the spirit! We are proud, so we will yell so you can hear it! The tiny tots cheer is sure to pass the test! It’s obvious we’re cute, now we’ll show you we’re the best!&uot;

–Tiny Tots (3-6)

After finishing sixth last year, the youngest cheerers took first place at a competition at Y.H. Thomas up on the Peninsula. Now, they’ll be the youngest group of Lady Suffolkians ever to show their cheering skills in the Orange State.

But Brittany Parker and Briceson Everett, both of whom are visiting the Magic Kingdom aren’t just going to tell everyone just how cute they are; they have a few worldwide celebrities to chase down. &uot;I can’t wait to see Mickey Mouse!&uot; says Brittany, 4. &uot;I want to show Cinderella my cheers!&uot;

Briceson wants to find the legendary princess as well. &uot;I want to tell Cinderalla how much I love her movies!&uot; exclaims the six-year-old.

&uot;We are unstoppable, outrageous, the team that can’t be beat! We’re out for the title and you’re in for defeat! You’ve seen us before, but never quite like this! We’re back and we’re better! Second place? Never! We’re here on the floor, our standards can’t be met! Number one again – no sweat!&uot;

–Pee-Wee, 7-12

Actually, the cheer is a bit misleading; the Pee-Wee girls took third in national competition in Washington, D.C. last year. Autumn Strickland, a member of that squad, wants to insure that she and her girls go two steps higher.

&uot;We’re worked really hard for it,&uot; says Autumn, 11. &uot;It’s a little scary at first, because you’re in front of a lot of people, but you just do it. We’ll be the same or better this year.&uot;

One of the lightest girls on the team, Autumn is &uot;lucky&uot; enough to be a flier – the girls that are lifted up and eventually hurled high into the air. Jennifer Taylor is a lifter and a catcher – known in cheerleading circles as a back spotter or base.

&uot;I’m scared that she might fall on me,&uot; Jennifer admits. &uot;But I’m going to watch her and make sure that she never wobbles.&uot;

&uot;Come on fans, let’s attack! When I yell, ‘SC,’ you yell ‘A’ back! SCA! SCA! One more time, yell it again, SCA!&uot;

— Juniors, 13-15

It shouldn’t be too difficult to find fans to cheer along with the Juniors – they’ll be performing in front of over 1,000 cheerleading fans. &uot;The best thing about cheering in front of thousands of people is that the competition is really hardcore,&uot; says Charlene Burris, a co-captain of the first SCA Junior team to fly south for a short period of the winter. &uot;The seniors took home second last year, so we should get first this year.&uot;

Staying calm in front of so many, admits co-captain Angelica Brown. &uot;We’re mainly just trying to keep everybody calm and disciplined,&uot; says the Lakeland High School student, &uot;but we want to have some funat the same time. It’s going to be much bigger with more actitivites.&uot;

&uot;Cheer Attitude is here, and we’re coming on strong! Number one again, right where we belong! We came to win! If you know the deal, you can’t stop the power of the silver, black and teal!&uot;

— Seniors 16-18

It’s always tough to finish second at such a huge event. A team works its collective heart out to get to the top level, only to fall just short in the moment of truth. It’s a situation that the oldest group of SCAers faced last year; they took second at Nationals. Co-captain Ashley Christopher, in her final year of cheering with the squad, wants more than anything to go out a champion.

&uot;We’re definitely going to get first this year,&uot; vows the Lakeland student. &uot;We’ve got a lot of girls that really care about the team, and about cheerleading.&uot;

For Melissa Haynes, the trip marks a final triumph over an opponent that pained her both physically and mentally. After suffering a broken leg and ankle in a car accident in September, the Nansemond River student couldn’t cheer for months. &uot;It was horrible,&uot; Melissa recalls, her eyes closing with remembered agony. &uot;I’d go to competition, and cry because I couldn’t compete. I missed it like crazy.&uot;

Perhaps that’s why she came back with as much enthusiasm as any SCA cheerer ever had. &uot;On my first day back in mid-January, I was on the floor doing stunts. It was like I’d never been gone, and it was great to be back!&uot;

Her sister Laura is also on her SCA farewell tour. &uot;We have more difficult stunts and a bunch of new girls this year,&uot; says Laura, who has been cheering for eight years. &uot;But the new ones showed that they could bring it together really well. I want the team to do well, because I want to go out with a nice job.&uot;

The tough task for SCA starts long before the girls step on the planes to head down to Disney; the trip costs $430 per person, with accomodations and transportation. For more information about providing aid and registering as a member of the team, contact Teda Burrows at 403-2231.