Bennett’s Creek Cheerleaders take the top spot

Published 7:15 pm Tuesday, December 26, 2023

The Junior PeeWee Bennett’s Creek Warriors Cheerleaders are celebrating a significant milestone as part of Bennett’s Creek Football and Cheer’s 40-year history.

While competing in this month’s Pop Warner National Championship in Orlando, Florida, the cheerleaders took home 1st Place for the very first time in the youth organization’s history following their years of winning in locals and regionals.

Bennett’s Creek Warriors Cheerleaders Head Coach Becky Deanes and Bennett’s Creek Warriors Cheerleaders Assistant Coaches Jamie Tordoff and Vikeya Rountree took time to talk about the achievement for the team, with Deanes noting how they were all “in shock” when they got the results.

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“There were a lot of tears, happy tears, jumping, screaming,” Deanes said.

Deanes talked about the competition process that the cheerleaders go through, noting the sideline routine.

“It’s really about crowd participation and getting the crowd involved in having a good time,” she said. “At Nationals, we had four other teams that we went against and it’s really crazy. It’s a lot, but the kids love it. They have to know how to cheer well, [do] stunts … all those things that we work all season on getting their routine ready.”

With competitions comes dedication and energy, and both Tordoff and Rountree said it wasn’t difficult getting the girls excited before participating in the tournament. Tordoff detailed how they had to get creative in keeping practice routines fresh.

“We did have to get creative with team bonding and keeping practice fun. So Vikeya was really good at coming up with ideas to make practice more fun because we’re just running through the same routine over and over again,” Tordoff said. “We would do things like different themed nights like Warriors pajamas one night or Halloween costume or “Anything but Pom-Poms,” which is where they had to bring two things to hold in their hands instead of pom-poms and to perform their routine at practice that way. We did have to get creative with enough practice to make them more fun with it and be more motivated to work hard.”

Rountree also talked about the shorter time frame the girls have to prepare for the competitions.

“In the All-Star world, which is like the same in the bigger cheer gym, they get June until around December to start their first competition, as we start Aug. 1, we can’t start any earlier than that, and our first competition is in mid-October,” Rountree said. “So it just shows you how fast we have to get the kids into shape this year and teach them a routine, sometimes two routines, to compete in.”

Reflecting on her early days as part of the same cheer team, Deanes talked about how it’s “pretty cool” to pass down the torch to her children by having them participate as Bennett’s Creek Warriors Cheerleaders. 

“I never went to Nationals when I was younger, but I just think it’s really cool to cheer for the same organization and be a part of it. And watch my kids grow up in it,” Deanes said. I have two girls, and they absolutely love cheer.”

Also, a Bennett’s Creek Warriors Cheerleader growing up, Tordoff was on the team that first went to Nationals. She noted how it was “super special” for her. She also detailed how things have changed since then.

“The whole organization has just come a really long way and it’s gotten a lot more competitive over the years,” Tordoff said. “But it’s changed in the way that they do two different routines. And one of the routines is just the music and they do the dancing and the stunting and the tumbling throughout lots of different pieces of music put together and then the other routine was the sideline routine where there’s no music and you’re cheering the whole time … But back in the 90s, it was just one routine and it had cheer and music that’s mixed together … The level of difficulty now is a lot more challenging and they require a lot more out of the score sheets.”

On their hopes for what the cheerleaders will take away from their win, both Tordoff and Deanes expressed wanting the girls to know how special being the first to take the National top spot is and the value of hard work paying off in the long run. Lastly, Rountree expressed how she hopes the girls will take away confidence and dedication from their win.

“A lot of the girls, we see them from the beginning, and they’re shy little girls, and they don’t want to talk to anybody, they’re afraid,” Rountree said. “And by the end, when we’ve won, it seems everybody has grown into themselves, and they have confidence and hope they carry that confidence throughout life, including staying dedicated to cheer.”

For more information, go to facebook.com/bcwarriors01.