Academy brings home national cheerleading titles

Legacy Christian Academy's varsity cheerleading squad poses after winning the national title at the Christian Cheerleaders of America Cheer Nationals from Feb. 25-27 in Winston Salem, North Carolina. Squad members are, bottom row from left, Hailey LaFever and Kyla Vaught; middle row, from left: Whitney Mantz, Sara Lowell and Alyssa Wilmer; back row, from left: Skylar Gray, Zoey Guamont, Mandy Ashworth and Hailey Berens. Courtesy photo by Bethany Lang

STEPHENS CITY – Legacy Christian Academy’s cheerleading program is making big strides in just two years.

The second year school brought home five national titles in the Christian Cheerleaders of America Cheer Nationals held Feb. 25-27 in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.

“The girls did awesome,” LCA cheerleading coach Bethany Lang said in a recent phone interview. “… I think the girls this season, they had a lot of different obstacles in their way this season, and they really pushed through and overcame. They worked really hard together as a team. The Lord really blessed us.”

LCA took two different teams to the national competition, an elementary team and a varsity team. Both teams won a national title.

There were also several individual champions. Makayla Williams, of the elementary team, won first place for a solo performance.

Legacy Christian Academy's elementary cheerleading squad poses after winning the national title at the Christian Cheerleaders of America Cheer Nationals in Winston Salem, North Carolina. Squad members are, front row from left: Kyla Vaught, Jocelyn Darr, Mias Edmiston and Makayla Williams; middle row, from left: Hailey LaFever and Ava Rich; back row, from left: Karis Roberge and Elizabeth Lee Courtesy photo by Bethany Lang

“She did a solo, a little ‘Frozen’ theme. So it was Disney, it was really cute,” Lang said.

Lang said that the varsity team participated in what’s called a stunt-a-thon, and the team was divided into a junior varsity and a varsity team. Lang said the junior varsity team used a ‘Ninja Turtles’ theme and they won first place in their division. Then the varsity team used a ‘Greek’ theme and placed third.

On the varsity team, LCA’s Alyssa Wilmer won for her solo performance using a baseball theme.

“She did an awesome job,” Lang said. “She almost had a perfect score sheet. So she did really good.”

LCA’s Kyla Vaught and Hailey Lafever did a duo and placed second using a ‘Footloose’ theme. LCA’s Skylar Gray and Whitney Mantz also did a duo using a football theme and placed second in their division.

The varsity team competed in two events as a team, winning the non-music event, and placing second in the music routine event.

Lang said the team practiced once or twice a week in a building behind the school used for physical education classes. She said they also practiced and were helped by Anne Gorman, who runs a cheerleading program, Cheer Eruption, in Winchester.

“She was really kind and she actually helped us with choreography this year,” Lang said. “She let us come down to her gym at least three days a week and practice with the girls down there. She was a huge help to our program last year as well as this year.”

Lang also won an award given to the top 25 Christian cheer coaches in the nation at the national competition.

Lang said they did run into an obstacle the day before the competition.

“While we were at nationals one of our captains lost her voice the day before we actually went out to compete, and she’s probably one of the loudest on the team,” Lang said. “So that was a huge hurt to us, but the other girls really stepped up. They really carried it through, because she was the one that normally led the cheer. So that was great that the other girls were able to do that.”

She said she saw a major improvement in the teams since last year.

“Last year we really weren’t very strong, and this year they came back and the girls were really determined,” Lang said. “Their whole thing the whole season was we want to go win nationals. So they worked very hard all season every day at practice. They were like, ‘We’re going to go win nationals.’ They were determined before we even left that they were going to do very well.”

Lang said she had 10 kids on both the varsity team and the elementary team. She said the school also has a show cheer team, which doesn’t compete, that has 18 kids.

She said she’s hoping to have a junior varsity team next year.

“We’ve had a grown interest in the whole school, because they were live streaming our competition while we were at nationals,” Lang said. “So we might be having some guys that are going to stunt with us next year.”

Lang said she was very proud of the team this season.

“I was very happy. I couldn’t have asked for a better season from the girls this year, and I don’t think any of the other coaches could’ve,” Lang said. “When they came off the mat, we all agreed with each other and said they did the best they could’ve. No matter what the outcome is, we couldn’t have asked for any more from the girls.”

Contact staff writer Tommy Keeler at 540-465-5137 ext. 168, or tkeeler@nvdaily.com