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Berlin Seahawks regional champs

Pop Warner JV cheerleaders earn first place, advance to nationals in Disney World
By Kara Hallissey | Nov 09, 2017
Courtesy of: Mary Berquist The Berlin Pop Warner cheerleaders will compete at nationals on Dec. 4 in Disney World for the third year in a row after coming in first place during the Eastern Regional competition last weekend in New Jersey.

(Nov. 10, 2017) The Berlin Pop Warner cheerleaders will compete at nationals on Dec. 4 in Disney World for the third year in a row after coming in first place during the Eastern Regional competition last weekend in New Jersey.

The cheerleaders are excited to participate at the national level, but it leaves the 12 girls with less than a month to raise money for the expensive trip.

“It is a requirement to stay on Disney property,” Head Coach Jessie Parsons said. “I am hoping to get area businesses to sponsor specific girls. It is a quick turnaround time. We have to be down there within a month. The rooms have to be paid for a week before competing.”

There are 12 junior varsity cheerleaders on the squad this year ranging in age from 10-13 years old, with a majority of the girls having cheered together in the past.

The squad started training for the competition in August, getting together four nights each week. Once school started, practices were cut to three per week. In addition, the cheerleaders perform every Saturday during Pop Warner football games.

“One of the challenges this year is we have a much smaller squad, which makes it harder to come up with stunts and make adjustments,” Parsons said. “We have been moving people around and the girls have a lot of duties as fliers, bases and backdrops. You have to be more versatile with a smaller squad.”

The cheerleaders will use their winning routine consisting of cheer, dance, tumbling, pyramids, tosses and stunts for the national competition in four weeks at Walt Disney World’s Wide World of Sports in Florida.

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 six coaches this year.

In addition to the junior varsity cheerleaders, the Berlin junior peewee division took home first place during the Henlopen competition in Smyrna, a couple of weeks ago, and the 18 girls will be moving on to the Eastern Regional competition in Trenton, New Jersey, this Saturday.

“Heather Selby is doing a great job with those little ones [8-11 years old] and it’s the first time her group has competed at the regional level. The girls are very excited,” Parsons said. “Our junior varsity [10-13 years old] football team won during a blowout at their regional competition on Sunday. It would be really cool if our junior varsity football team made it to Disney and we could cheer for them there. That is an ultimate goal of the program.”

The junior varsity football players will compete in Asbury Park, New Jersey, this weekend. If the team  wins on Saturday, it will play in Pennsylvania on Nov. 19 to qualify for the national competition in Disney World.

Debbie Donahue is in charge of the cheerleading program and Tony Morris is president of the association in Berlin. They have both spent countless hours dedicated to the program, Parsons said.

“The program needs funds for everything we do. It is all volunteer run,” Parsons said. “We might have more teams going to Disney and our goal is to cheer on the junior varsity football players while we are there.”

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 443-783-8628 or visit www.BerlinSeahawks.com.

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