The Strawberry Crest cheerleading program is not only the best in the state of Florida, but also the best in the country. The Chargers made history last month, becoming the first cheerleading program from Hillsborough County to win a national championship.
“To win nationals honestly felt like a dream,” said senior Trinity Perry. “It still feels surreal, and the best part of it was being able to leave a legacy, earning the first national title, not only in school, but in county history.”
The Chargers had a dominant season, claiming the Western Conference championship, regional championship, state championship and national title at Disney’s ESPN Wide World of Sports in February. The Traditional Division team finished first out of 45 teams in the program’s seventh nationals appearance.
Their best-ever finish at nationals before this season came in 2016 when they placed third. At states, they recorded the highest score in the whole 2A Division. They are the only team from Hillsborough County to medal at nationals.
“It was the icing on the cake. It was an amazing experience,” said senior Mikenzie Shiflett. “It feels good to know we ended our season at the highest point.”
The program also competed in the new Game Day Division this year for the first time in school history, and that team finished third at nationals out of 25 teams. Both Strawberry Crest division teams are co-ed.
The Chargers are led by eight-year Head Coach Loveny Savarino. The program has become elite, despite being a fairly new school, opening in 2009. Savarino said that the seniors did a good job of pushing everybody forward and keeping them focused, especially with a lot of freshmen on the team.
“All of the veterans did everything they could in teaching all of the rookies our team culture of a hard work ethic, putting our best foot forward, working hard day in and day out regardless of how tired you are to press towards our goal,” said Savarino.
Savarino said that their goals as a program are to continue their six-year run as state champions and go back-to-back at nationals. They want to stay in the top three nationally at least. As of right now, tryouts will be from June 1-4.
“I’m very proud of the kids,” said Savarino. “We always talk about each SC team that we have, putting their footprint in history, so that future teams can look back at our success. Their goal is always to leave that imprint in our own history here at school and have their own legacy, and I’m just very proud of them because they have exceeded that. They have made history.”