Photo courtesy of Merideth Van Auken. The Varsity FishHawk Wolfpack cheer team.

The FishHawk Wolfpack, a Pop Warner football and cheer organization, has had major success since it began in 2007. The organization is run completely by volunteers.

This year, all three of the competitive-aged cheer teams from the Wolfpack organization made it to the Pop Warner National Cheer and Dance championships with two routines each. Teams are formed based on age and skill level as well as experience. Age groups include Junior Pee-Wee (ages 8-11), Pee-Wee (9-12) and Varsity (12-16). All three teams brought home national trophies for both routines they did, including one National Championship.

“Being with the program since it began, and the way that it has grown, it’s just been an amazing experience to see them be able to fulfill their dreams of winning nationals,” said Merideth Van Auken, FishHawk Wolfpack Cheer Coordinator.

The cheerleading teams also cheer for the Wolfpack football teams if there is a team that is their same age group. They cheer for a total of eight games, and if the football team makes the postseason, they cheer for those games as well. There were four football teams—Mighty-Mite, Junior Pee-Wee, Pee-Wee and Junior Varsity. The age range goes from 7-13. The Mighty-Mite team went undefeated and won their league championship.

The varsity cheer team that won the national title got to compete in Globals in Atlantic City on the weekend of January 19. According to Van Auken, they gave a great performance, hitting all of their skills in their routine, but did not come home with the trophy. “It was still an amazing experience for them, and we are so glad that they were able to be part of it,” said Van Auken.

According to Van Auken, the FishHawk Wolfpack organization will stay busy in the off-season, preparing for next season. They will run weekly cheer clinics to keep the kids conditioned and active before they start on August 1 again. Spring 8-on-8 football is going on right now as well.

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Nick Nahas has written for the Osprey Observer since 2016. He has lived in the Valrico area since 2002 and has his bachelor’s degree in mass communications from the University of South Florida. He is dedicated to covering sports in Hillsborough County at every level.