Sometimes it’s the smallest thing that makes the biggest impact. Xtreme Cheer in Mitchell isn’t like most competitive cheer teams.
“There’s 12 girls on our team, 11 competing, so yeah it’s incredible. We don’t have our backups or alternates, this is the team that we get,” said Coach Haley Lund.
For the first time in their 16 years, Xtreme Cheer is competing nationally at the Division-2 Summit in Florida.
“The D2 Summit is exclusively for gyms that have 125 athletes or less, and so we actually only have 12 competitive athletes,” said Coah Alyssa Ketcham.
That’s right, a team of 12 in a competition typically meant for teams of 125 athletes. This is a true chance for a program like the Novas to shine on a big stage.
‘It’s a pretty small gym, small town, so it’s not really a big occurrence in a place like this. So we really want to show Florida, that we really have good routines like all the bigger states,” said eighth grader Sydney Wojcik.
“I think the fact that we are a small gym is really the key, that we can focus on each individual girl, and it’s not because we have to, it’s just because they want us to,” added Lund.
There may only be 12 of them, but make no mistake, together they are putting the town on Mitchell on the map in the cheer world.
“Oh yeah, definitely,” Ketcham laughs.
Size isn’t the only challenge for the Novas, there’s another numbers game they have to play. There’s eight years between the team’s oldest member and it youngest, as the Novas range from age six to 14..
Just ask six-year-old Lauren, the youngest Nova.
“They’re like bigger than me, so I feel short,” she said.
“We usually have to put things like 20 different ways for all of them to understand it, but we make it work,” said Ketcham.
Something that can’t be measure, is the heart these 12 girls bring to the mat. Evey practice, every performance, every time.
“We have a motto on our team and it’s ‘better than the last’. And so our goal for every performance and every competition is to always be better than the last, and they have just just kept it strong throughout the whole year,” said Ketcham. “We did a lot of team bonding activities this year, and they’ve just been like best friends they’re all best friends, they all hang out outside of cheer, and I think that’s what's made this team different,” she added.
The Division Two Summit runs May 10th through May 12th In Orlando.