Pop Warner Junior Varsity squad set to compete in New Jersey this weekend
(Nov. 9, 2018) The Berlin Pop Warner Junior Varsity cheerleaders are on their way to the regional tournament in Trenton, New Jersey, with hopes to advance to the championship, held at Walt Disney World’s Wide World of Sports on Dec. 3.
The JV team consists of 18 girls who range in age from 10-13 years old. They will perform a two-minute 30-second routine consisting of cheer, dance, tumbling, tosses, pyramids and stunts.
“They’re very nervous, but also very excited,” JV Head Coach and Pop Warner Coordinator Debbie Donahue said. “They’ve got a hard routine to perform so hopefully they keep those nerves in check and put it all out there and we’ll see how it turns out.”
The squad started training for the competition in August, getting together four nights each week, or 10 hours a week. Once school started, practices were cut to six hours per week. In addition, the cheerleaders perform every Saturday during Pop Warner football games.
For seven members of the squad, this is their first regional competition. Five others have been on the team for at least one or two years, and six cheerleaders have competed at the JV level for the past four years, performing on teams which have made it to the championship finals in Disney, Donahue said.
They will be competing against teams from Delaware, Maryland, Washington D.C., New York, New Jersey, New England and Pennsylvania on Saturday, with their first routine at 3 p.m.
“They’ve done very well,” Donahue said. “So the bar is set really high and the new girls coming in have a lot to work up to. It’s a great experience for them.”
If the team earns first or second place at regionals, the cheerleaders will advance to the national championship at Walt Disney World’s Wide World of Sports, held during the first week of December.
All-adult volunteers go through certification programs and participants rely on donations to attend national championships. It costs $1,000 per person to travel to nationals. The squad has nine coaches this year.
“We are in the process of deciding which way we are going to go,” Donahue said. “We are looking at different events we can do, such as small fundraisers, bake sales, etc. but we’re also asking for sponsorship and donations from local businesses.”
Last weekend, the Berlin Pop Warner Junior Peewee cheerleaders competed in their regional event in New Jersey, earning third place out of six teams. Unfortunately, only first and second place winners advance to Disney.
“They [were] amazing at the competition but at the end the other teams were better,” Head Coach Heather Selby said. “They worked their butts off until the minute they were off the mat. The other coaches and myself were so proud of them and so excited when they rocked that mat. They definitely made me ugly cry tears which is what I told them they better do and they accomplished it.”
Despite coming home early, the Peewee girls have not thrown in the towel, and are looking forward to competing next year.
“They all know we just have to work harder next year,” Selby said.
Berlin Pop Warner is accepting monetary donations for its football and cheer programs. Donations are tax deductible and can be mailed to: Worcester County Youth Football P.O. Box 1517 Berlin, Maryland, 21811.
For more information on the Worcester County Youth Football and Cheerleading Berlin Seahawks, call 443-783-8623 or visit www.BerlinSeahawks.com.