Six first year cheerleaders from Fairfield made their mark at the National All Star Cheerleading Competition in March at Orlando, Fla.
Competing against teams from throughout the U.S., the Soldier Mountain All Star Senior squad brought home the fourth place trophy in their division. Team coach Amanda Norton said the accomplishment is especially impressive because the squad has been in existence for only a year.
"I never dreamed we'd go to Nationals the first year," Norton said. "To even go was an experience, but to go and place was really cool. This was a dream come true."
Team members are Erin Chapman, Hailey Gregory, Brianna Hoskinson, Lindsey Peterson, Rose Schwarzbach and ToniAnne Wear. Schwarzbach, the team captain, is a senior at Camas County High School. Chapman is a junior and the other four are freshmen.
The team competed in the Small Squad (less than 20 members) Senior Level Division against squads mainly from California and the eastern and southern regions of the country. Norton said she believes her team was the first ever from Idaho to compete in the national competition.
The event, sponsored by the Universal Cheerleading Association, was held March 11 and 12 at Walt Disney World in Orlando.
Norton said the girls worked hard to raise money to attend. They shoveled snow off roofs, cleaned houses, babysat, held a yard sale and made 120 pizzas to raise the $4,000 needed for the trip.
"They were so proud of what they were doing," she said. "They earned the money by working hard."
The team qualified for the national event by capturing first place at a regional competition in Salt Lake City and a first in Idaho competition held in Boise.
All Star Cheerleading, which is privately sponsored and separate from public school cheerleading, is becoming increasingly popular in Idaho, said Norton, a former University of Idaho cheerleader who herself has won national and international awards. After having coached for several years at Camas County High School, she started Soldier Mountain All Star Cheerleading last year and now coaches 35 girls, ranging from kindergarten age to high school. Girls from Fairfield, Gooding and the Wood River Valley are currently enrolled in the program.