By Tamas Monodovics
For the second year in a row, the Strawberry Crest High School Chargers cheer team won the Western Conference championship, defended its district title, won its Regional competition, confirmed the program’s strength and once again earned the respect of dozens of area squads throughout the county.
The Western Conference witnessed 27 talented teams give their best, but this year’s emotionally-charged, highly-competitive event again deservedly belonged to the Chargers as they took first place by an unheard of margin of 45 points.
Chargers coed cheer head coach, Loveny Rivas, assisted by Chelsea Martin, could not have asked for a better season success which did not end with the district title.
“We have had a spectacular season which was blessed with new, young talent,” Rivas said.
Topping off the season, the squad went on to win its FHSAA Regional by 10 points, competing against nine teams. The win led the program to its first FHSAA State Competition appearance since 2011, placing second out of 14.
The squad’s success continued with its first appearance at the Universal Cheerleaders Association (UCA) Nationals, which is considered the largest, ESPN-promoted, cheer competition for High Schools held at the Walt Disney World Resort.
The Chargers coed team finished fifth out of 36 teams and was the only team from Hillsborough County that entered and the only team in the Tampa Bay/St. Pete Area to even place.
“What makes this remarkable is that this was a rebuilding season with eight freshman not including three members that never had prior cheer experience.”
Rivas emphasized that the bar has definitely been set high for the Chargers’ upcoming season, which means a more difficult routine with even more creative elite sequences. She put things in perspective for all when she said, “Our goal is not to outdo other teams, but to outdo ourselves.”
Banking on this year’s success, the Chargers are now looking forward to maintaining their status and keeping the program in its rightful spot in the high school cheer world.
At the conclusion of another spectacular season, however, success is defined by much more than just a banner in the school gymnasium or a trophy sitting in a display case.
It is, in fact, a great sense of achievement, pride and, for Strawberry Crest High School cheer coaches, the entire squad and for all the parents who endured the six-month-long competition-filled season, it is the realization that with success comes hard work and sacrifice.
For more information about Strawberry Crest High School athletics, visit www.sdhc.k12.fl.us.