Cheer team wins World championship
By Darlene Tise
Two Ganado students were part of a team of competitive cheerleaders that earned a World Championship in May at Universal Studios in Orlando, Florida. Hannah Kelly and Hallie Bures were part of an 11-member squad at Full Force of El Campo who competed at the All-Star World Championship against numerous other squads from across the United States.
While typical cheerleading is used to encourage sports teams and crowds, competitive cheerleading is considered a sport and is physically demanding. Judges determine the winners based on such things as building pyramids, baskets, throws and tumbles to score points. Team members use cheerleading, balancing and dancing moves in their routines to impress judges.
Leaving the classroom behind for a few days, Hannah and Hallie and their mothers flew to Florida for the May 3 competition held at the Orange County Convention Center. The team was housed at Universal Studios during the event.
Their team competed in the Junior 5 Division. Divisions are based on both age and skill levels.
Dubbed the Night Sisters, as part of a Star Wars theme, they were one of four teams who earned a spot in the final round. Their routine was two minutes and 32 seconds complete with custom music. Hannah was a back spotter for her squad and Hallie tumbled during the duration of the presentation.
“Cheer is the ultimate sport,” said Hallie, daughter of Jamie and Kelly Bures. “We are the only ones who have two minutes and 30 seconds to do our absolute best. One Chance Only! There are no innings or halftime. But winning isn’t just about beating others, it’s about overcoming your limits and fears. Most of all it’s about turning your dreams into reality and that’s what we did!”
As Word Champions, the girl’s received a World Medal, a Hit Zero Medal (meaning they made no mistakes), a bracelet and a banner that will be hung at the Full Force Gym. The winning routine can be viewed on the Full Force website by scrolling down to the date of the competition.
Hannah stayed in Florida a few days longer to compete in another division. She moved from Universal Studios to Walt Disney World for her second round of competition in Level 6 where 541 teams were invited to participate. The 16-year-old daughter of Brian and Stephanie Kelly said winning Worlds means that all the hard work paid off and she truly enjoys the bond with the girls and the coaches. “We have to put trust in our teammates to be successful.”
Both girls have been involved in competitive cheer for several years. During school Hannah, who also takes other Full Force classes, goes to the gym four days a week while Hallie is there twice a week. Over the course of the season, the girls have fundraisers to help pay for the many competitions and expenses incurred in competitive cheer. This past season the Night Sisters were involved in seven or eight competitions. Unfortunately, due to COVID, a competition slated for Las Vegas had to be cancelled. Usually, the National Competition is held in January or February while World Competition is in May.
Over the past few years, the Ganado students have endured physical complications from the strenuous training required to reach the elite level. Hannah deals with Osgood-Schlatter on her knees as a result of growth plate issues and overuse. Hallie contends with Scoliosis of the spine.
Her mother noted the physical nature of cheerleading keeps Hallie’s bones strong and the Scoliosis from getting any worse. The 12-year-old also suffers from ankle inflammation and growth plate issues.
Each year the teams at Full Force are reevaluated. Although Hannah and Hallie have been on the same team for about four years it remains to be seen what the upcoming season holds for the duo.
Both girls express desire to cheer on the collegiate level. While Hallie is spending the summer rehabilitating her ankle with physical therapy and “needling” Hannah is busy attending college cheer clinics and tours. Her third cheer clinic will be at Texas Tech University starting on June 30. Scouts and cheer coaches often attend these clinics looking for prospective cheerleaders.
The hope is to be offered a scholarship in the sport they love. Regardless, the girls have lots of exciting times ahead as they push to stay the “Best of the Best!”