Wildkats earn first place at regional competition

The Northwest Colorado All Star Wildkats cheerleading team won the National Cheerleader Association (NCA) regional competition held in Grand Junction Saturday.

"They came so far in a short time," Owner and Head Coach Dawn Rader said. "And they impress me every time they compete."

The Kittens, a younger version of the Wildkats, won first place in the youth division doing a two minute group jump, dance, tumble and stunts routine.

The coaches were thrilled with the team's performance.

"It was awesome," Assistant Coach Tammy Rogers said. "They worked so hard for this moment."

The 'Kats took first place in the junior prep division. They had a harder routine of tumble, cheer, dance and even more difficult stunts.

"I was jumping up and down," Wildkat cheerleader Rochelle Johnson said. "I didn't know what to do next."

The Wildkats also won the judge's award for best showmanship. This accolade was given because of the girls' enthusiasm, interaction among other teams, overall performance, personal presence, spirit and showmanship, Rader said.

"I rather win the best sportsmanship trophy than those other two," Rader said. "It is important the girls have a healthy attitude about not winning, what matters, they did their best and had fun doing it."

The Wildkats captured two individual awards before the competition finished.

Cassie Rogers, 10, won second place for best cheerleader.

"I was happy to win," Rogers said. "I did a tumbling pass, a jump and a cheer I made up on Friday."

Rogers enjoys being a fly girl on the squad.

"All the attention is on me," she said.

Rochelle Johnson won third place for best cheerleader.

"I was happy and was hugging everybody," Johnson said. "I did two back springs, three jumps and a cheer I made up on Thursday."

Johnson said she was nervous, but kept her cool in front of the judges.

"I thought I was going to faint," she said.

Both the Kittens and the Wildkats accomplished their goals by winning bids to the National Championships in Dallas, Rader said.

"We declined the invitation and instead we will compete in the West Coast Classic Invitational this March in Disneyland," Rader said.

The Wildkats want to thank everybody for their donations for their Disneyland. The Wildkats will raise money for the trip by taking pictures of Santa Claus at the mall this weekend. For more information, call Rader at 824-5336.

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