The storied Bloomingdale High School cheerleading program has won many titles, but recently they have added another accomplishment to the mantle with its first-ever National High School Cheerleading Championship appearance. They joined five other Hillsborough County teams in Orlando at Disney World for the competition on February 7.
The team had a busy 2019-2020 season, both on the football field and on the competition mat, cheering at 12 football games, competing in four mini competitions in the county, finishing third at the western conference final, second in the regionals, while also competing in states and nationals.
They had a huge setback at the state competition, when one of their teammates tore her ACL on the mat. They had to leave the floor and redo their routine on the spot, and as a result, they finished fourth.
After states, they finished 13th out of 22 teams at nationals after sustaining multiple injuries and routine changes. Strawberry Crest went on to win the national championship in their separate coed division.
“It’s been a tough year with a lot of injuries,” said Head Coach Tracy DiPrima. “We have had a year of ups and downs, and for these kids to finish as strong as they did, I think I’m most proud of the fact that they overcame a lot and they had a great work ethic.”
DiPrima helped build Bloomingdale into a legitimate contender back in 2003 when she took the job. She left the program in 2009 to work for the school district as a mentor for new teachers after back-to-back state championships in 2008 and 2009. Those state championships were the first in the school district’s history. The same group of cheerleaders also won the 2011 state championship.
DiPrima then worked in professional development downtown before taking the program back over in 2017. She is also an academic coach at Bloomingdale, working with the new teachers on campus as a mentor.
“I came back from my district-level position because I missed the kids, I missed the school environment and I missed Bloomingdale, so it’s been a nice return home,” said DiPrima.
DiPrima said that nationals is a fairly new concept for Hillsborough County. Teams from the county didn’t compete in that particular competition when she was the head coach the first time around.
DiPrima and her assistant coach, former Bloomingdale cheerleader Bethany Wallace, are now trying to rebuild the program after they had a few lean years following the 2011 state title, of which Wallace was a part. Qualifying for nationals at their regional competition is a huge step.
According to DiPrima, the girls will get together to work in the off-season to prepare for next season. They will officially start up again in May, and tryouts will be at the beginning of June.