GRAPEVINE — The Universal Cheer Association has held leadership and skills improvement camps for more than 4 million athletes on and off the field since the organization's inception in 1974.
Last weekend, Waxahachie High School's cheerleaders added to those numbers after the organization's four-day crash course.
The Indian freshmen, junior varsity and varsity cheerleading teams picked up a slew of awards during Saturday's UCA Camp at the Great Wolf Lodge, including recognition in pep rally routines and sideline cheer.
"We attended stunt classes, pyramid classes, learned cheers, chants, band dances, and pep rally routine. We also attended team building classes each day," said Erika Fritz, the team's head cheer coach. "The girls went before a panel of judges against in the freshmen and junior varsity categories. Our Varsity competed under the Large Varsity category."
During the camp, athletes learned the finer points of stunting, back spotting and pyramid training — as well as collecting individual and team recognition among the myriad of teams throughout the state at the event.
While Alyssa Dubose, Madeline Condor, Bri Graff, Abby Rose and Madison Zandt won Varsity All-American Awards, Dubose, Ella Brewer and Preslie Davis earned "Pin It Forward" UCA honors.
The "Pin It Forward" Award is widely known as one of the most prestigious awards UCA staffers can give to one single camper at each camp at any time and for any reason. It exemplifies those that stand out as leaders that go above and beyond in classes, has a great spirit every day and is a camper who shows how passionate they are and is kind to others, according to a description of the honor on varsity.com.
The freshmen team won both Pep Rally Routine and Sideline Cheer Championships while the JV team took second in sideline cheer. The varsity team won second in pep rally routines and first in sideline cheer.
"After finishing one spot out of finals for our UIL Game Day competition last year," Fritz said, "we really focused on the details of that aspect of the competition. Our efforts paid off and we won that category against very good schools including Desoto — a 6A UIL Game Day finalist."
The varsity team also earned the Overall Game Day Sideline Championship.
Zandt, an incoming junior, added to the All-American selection and her awards coffers after clinching the Mascot Championship after designing a stunt for the mascot position. It was the second of both her high school career and in the last two athletic offseasons.
"All three teams showed incredible work ethic," Fritz said. "As a coach, I noticed they took the critiques from each their evaluations throughout the week and made sure to work in those areas. We had lots of growth this week and I am looking forward to the upcoming season."
The cheer teams perform sideline routines at WHS girls and boys basketball, football, soccer and volleyball games, in addition to their rigorous competition schedule. They, as well as the Cherokee Charmer Drill Team will man the sidelines and stands when the football and volleyball seasons officially open on Sept. 1.