BC girls to cheer for America

Published 12:00 am Saturday, December 4, 2004

Suffolk News-Herald

It had been a decade in the making.

For the past 10 years, Allyson Roybal had been cheerleading for the Bennett’s Creek Pop Warner football team. In that time, she’d watched several local teams win in regional competition, and make the trip to Disney World for the regionals, including other BC teams.

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But Roybal had never been able to make the trip herself. After the MC midget squad made it to the nationals three years ago, Roybal came on board the next year – and though the squad won at locals, the Lady Warriors were unable to make it past the next level.

So when she and her teammates took locals in early November, the 13-year-old knew that she wouldn’t have many more chances. They headed to the Dorton Arena in Raleigh on Nov. 26 for regionals, and Roybal knew that she had at least one more shot.

&uot;I’d kind of gotten used to not making it to nationals,&uot; she said. &uot;We’d won divisions four times, and come within a place of nationals.&uot; To cheer with the country’s best, a team must finish first or second in regional competition.

Last year, the judges had said that the BC squad needed more tumbling. In 2004, they fixed that problem, said Rachel Hart.

&uot;That’s why I felt more confident,&uot; said the John Yeates Middle student. &uot;We practiced three times a week, and we practiced really hard,&uot;

The squad started off their routine, and everything seemed to be going fine. Then, in an instant, it nearly disappeared all at once; a girl was tossed into the air, and wasn’t caught correctly, sending her entire base nearly crashing to the ground.

&uot;We got up and kept going,&uot; said Stephanie Polenski, a member of the faulty base. &uot;We thought a lot of points had been taken. No one else dropped a girl.&uot;

At that point, Roybal figured that the competition would bring her one more disappointment.

&uot;I thought that was it,&uot; she said. &uot;If you drop a girl, you’re pretty much disqualified.&uot;

As the girls waited to hear the results, the girls who had been dropped was crying, and her teammates tried to comfort her. Then they hear the first announcement: &uot;In third place, Olive Branch.&uot;

No one really paid much attention; everyone figured that the dropped flyer had cost them a shot a nationals. Fortunately, they were wrong.

&uot;In second place,… Bennett’s Creek.&uot; Everyone on the Suffolk squad jumped up and screamed.

&uot;We were all hugging,&uot; Polenski said. &uot;We were so excited.&uot;

On Dec. 7, the squad will hop on a bus and head to Florida for the national championships. That’s where the community can help; renting the bus alone will cost $4,000, and room and board for each cheerer (23 will make the trip) runs at least $500.

&uot;I’m excited,&uot; Roybal said, &uot;but I’m also concerned, because missing three days of school means a lot of makeup work!&uot; To help out, please call BC president Mike Bowles at 483-6006.