By Missy Schrott | [email protected]
For the third year in a row, Bishop Ireton’s varsity cheerleading team won the Christian Cheerleaders of America National Championship. The competition took place last weekend in Fayetteville, North Carolina.
“Each year it gets more exciting,” the team’s coach, Angela Hope-Eskew, said.
The Cardinals were named the National Grand Champions after receiving the highest score of any division at the competition. They also placed first in the music, non-music and tumbling categories of the large varsity division.
Hope-Eskew said her team of 21 consists of 12 veterans who have been on the winning teams of the past few years, and nine newcomers, some of whom had never cheered before.
“They’re funny. The juniors who have won three years in a row are saying ‘Let’s go for another one’ because they’ve won a national competition every year they’ve been on the team,” Hope-Eskew said.
The cheerleading season at Bishop Ireton spans August to March, from practices to football games to basketball games to competitions.
Hope-Eskew applauded her cheerleaders’ commitment and dedication. She said perfection was both the team’s strength and its weakness, as striving for perfection led them to success, but also caused them to be hard on themselves.
“We call ourselves a cheer family, and we really are,” she said. “They make sure they’re supporting each other emotionally, spiritually and physically.”
At the competition in Fayetteville, the team also won the National Spirit of Competition trophy, an honor that is voted for by each competing team and awarded to the team that shows the most support to others. In addition, Hope-Eskew was recognized for being in the CCA’s Coaches Hall of Fame.
“It’s just incredible,” Hope-Eskew said. “There’s no words to describe it.”