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Bambies go 3-for-3 at cheerleading nationals

All three St. Hubert cheerleading teams came home from nationals with a medal. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

A trip to Florida is always fun.

For the Bambies, it’s a lot more fun when they have heavier bags coming home than they did going.

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That’s exactly what happened to every member of the St. Hubert High School cheerleading program this year. 

The school sent three teams to compete in the national cheerleading championships, and all finished on the podium. And all arrived home from the airport sporting new medals.

The large varsity team took second in the nation. The JV non-tumbling squad (Gold) also took second. The large JV team (Brown) finished third.

So all three of the Bambies teams were top three in their class. 

That’s a lot to cheer about.

Caitlin Cranston, of Pennypack, and Alivia Murphy, of Bustleton, starred on the varsity squad. Brooke Bonner (Winchester Park) and Allison McLaughlin (Holme Circle) are on the Brown squad. Kaci Fitz-Gerald (Parkwood) cheers for the Gold team.

All three St. Hubert cheerleading teams came home from nationals with a medal. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

All of them accomplished everything they wanted to. Not only did they come home with medals, but they also did it while representing a team and school they loved.

“I am beyond proud of my team and how much they have grown personally and as  cheerleaders,” Fitz-Gerald said. “This year JV Gold had eight incoming freshmen with about half of them completely new to cheerleading. Everyone has come so far and has been so encouraging. 

“I am also proud of the effort and determination everyone has put on and off the mat at practice and at competitions to end the routine with a BAM and a 2nd-in-the-nation finish.” 

It was a great experience. 

But don’t think it was a vacation.

The Bambies go to Florida every year, but they’re not there to get a tan or hit up Universal Studios. They’re there to win.

And under coach Lisa McNesby, they usually do.

“Don’t be fooled by the palm trees, Orlando is definitely all business,” Cranston said. “We practice all year for one routine so it is important to stay focused on the competition. Our team often says we have to ‘lock in,’ and have our minds focused on cheerleading. With that being said, there were many fun moments with the team. 

“I would say the best part of the trip was the practice before our semifinal performance. The pressure of the competition seemed to disappear for a little while and the team just enjoyed one of our final practices. Stunts were hitting flawlessly, and music was blasting, vibes were definitely at an all-time high.”

Florida is fun because winning is fun. 

And whenever the Bambies fly south, they’re there to compete. 

“This year was by far my favorite cheer season,” McLaughlin said. “We had a really great group of girls that had such drive and passion for their sport, without the push of our coaches and their endless effort and love. Due to our outcomes in previous years we pushed even harder. 

“Our main goal was hitting zero and we did just that. We watched the underclassmen grow into the perfect, most-driven girls and I couldn’t have asked for a better group of girls and a perfect ending to my senior season.”

It wasn’t without bumps and bruises.

Cheerleading might not sound it, but it’s an incredibly physical sport.

These girls go flying in the air and are caught by teammates. If you’re a sports fan, let’s just say it’s a lot easier to catch a football or a popup than a high school student.

But these girls do that all the time. And whenever they faced adversity, they tackled it head on.

“This nationals was a huge bounce back from my previous years, and I’m so glad I got to do it with this team,” Bonner said. “These girls were so positive and excited to be in the gym all season and they made a big impact on my senior year. Three weeks before nationals we were told someone had an injury, and we had to bring a girl who stopped cheering back on the mat. 

All three St. Hubert cheerleading teams came home from nationals with a medal. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

“Instead of everyone giving up and having bad attitudes, they came to practice ready to work and make the changes, and it helped us get our routine done quickly and easily, and we were able to have amazing performances at nationals. I will never forget this team and the happiness they gave me.”  

The varsity team consists of Abby Haney, Alyiah Piehl, Alyssa Miller, Bella Knorr, Dani Graham, Danika Nicolai, Elena Ortega, Jocelyn Kuebler, Julia Mazzella, Kaci Fitz-Gerald, Nevaeh Bonilla, Reagan Gilmore, Shaelyn Desher, Martina Bradford, Savannah Bradford and Grace DiDonato.

The JV Brown team includes Amaya Rojas, Ashlyn Heron, Brelyn Whitley, Brooke Bonner, Cece Zaleski, Ella DeNofa, Elysia Perrone, Isabella Printz, Julia Murphy, Kaylie Konieczny, Kelsey Craig, Kiana Solivan, Mackenzie Bolduc, Madison Brown, Madison Mullen, Mya Baker, Natalia Swartz, Nicolette Shupe, Samantha Boory, Sianni Pierce, Victoria Montanez, Alexis Chancey, Janiya Patterson and Allison McLaughlin.

Cheering for the varsity team are Alexa Wright, Alexis Tait, Alivia Murphy, Allie McNesby, Alyah Cohen, Angelina Kinniry, Bella Marino, Caitlin Cranston, Camryn Bickel, Camryn Klepczynski, Gianna Pagano, Grace Servis, Hope Bucci, Isabella Bringhurst, Isabella DiDonato, Jenni Leneghan, Laina Fitzgerald, Layla Mastrangelo, Leah Brace, Madelyn Leone, Morgan Reilly, Paige Maldonado, Ryan Collins, Samantha Kinniry and Sophia Sermarini.

All three St. Hubert cheerleading teams came home from nationals with a medal. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO
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