ALOHA, Ore. (KOIN) — With just a few seconds left in their routine at the National High School Cheerleading Championship in Orlando, the Aloha Warriors knew they had just made history.
“There’s just one point in the routine where you just know that it was perfect,” Aloha senior McKenzie Siller said.
In only their second year at nationals, Aloha High School’s cheer team became the first team from Oregon to win it all.
Head coach Brittnie Johnson said, “They just finally get the recognition of all the hard work and all the time they put into this finally paid off for them.”
McKenzie said it took awhile for their win to really set in.
“It’s still kind of unreal,” she said. “While we were in Florida, it didn’t really hit me just because we were always working and we had another routine to do, so it was just kind of going, going, going and I think when we flew back on the plane, it really hit me.”
While winning is great, it wasn’t actually the main goal of the trip to Florida.
“We really just focused on having fun,” senior Kami Flint said. “I know that was the biggest thing because we really just wanted to focus on working together, doing the best that we could, so I think just having fun was our biggest thing.”
Johnson said she wants the team to know that it’s not about winning, but working hard and giving it their all.
“I try to teach the kids that winning is not our end result, but doing the best they can and putting the best they have on the floor and having a really fun time with each other,” Johnson said. “We always preach fun and that success and reward will come with that if they believe in what us coaches are trying to tell them.”
In the end, a medal is just a symbol meant to remind you of everything it took to get it — and for the Aloha Warriors, they’ll remember it for so much more than just being No. 1.
“Knowing that inside of cheer and outside of cheer, we’re there for each other because cheer practice and competitions and everything,” senior Ellen Whitaker said. “The highlight of all of our days is just spending time with each other.”