This camp is one of the largest NCA college camps in the nation. Teams from across the country travel to this camp to compete and to learn how to become a more developed team. The camp tests each team by putting them through different facets of cheer, including stunting, partner stunt, pyramid, tumbling, cheer, game-day cheer and chants, jumps, and dance.
At the end of the camp, judges evaluate teams on their performance and compatibility throughout the camp. The judges award points to each team, and every team also gets two votes to award to any team with whom they have bonded. Senior cheerleader Claudia Tonti explained, “It is important to make connections with other teams, so they can help you by casting their vote in your favor.”
After the final competition, the judges cast their votes, which were coupled with other teams’ votes, and Stevenson’s cheer team received a first-ever Gold bid to Nationals, which will be held in Daytona Beach, Florida, in April, 2019. Prior to this year’s camp, Stevenson had only received Bronze and Silver bids.
A Gold bid covers the team’s housing and meals for the event. It allows the team to pick their own hotel without worrying about the cost. The only thing the team must pay for is their travel expenses. Tonti said that the team would like to stay at the Hilton because they have never had the opportunity to stay there before.
PREPARING FOR COMPETITIVE CHEER
The competitive cheer season does not start until January; until then, the team continues to practice on a regular basis along with game-day cheer at home athletic events.
The team’s biggest event until the competitive season start is Homecoming weekend. The team will perform at Mustang Madness where they will showcase their talent and will also cheer at the Homecoming football game against Wilkes University.
After Homecoming weekend, the team will continue to prepare for the competitive season ahead. In November, the team will begin learning and mastering new choreography, said Tonti.
The team has only two seniors, Tonti and Kendall Rodier, along with three juniors, five sophomores, and seven freshmen, who have been working hard during their first year of collegiate cheer. Tonti said, “I could not have asked for a better way to start my last year of cheering for Stevenson.”