The Strawberry Crest High School cheer team was filled with emotion after their best performance of the season.

Strawberry Crest High School’s coed cheer team won the national championship for the first time since 2020 in its rebuilding season.

“It was a challenging year just because it was a rebuilding year and there was a lot that went into teaching the kids our culture and really getting up to speed with what we had to do as a team to be successful,” coach Loveny Savarino said.

Of the 20 athletes Strawberry Crest matted, 10 were new to the program. Still, Savarino chose to perform their most difficult routine yet.

“In order to be competitive, throughout the whole year we were learning an alternative routine,” she said.

The team reworked their states-winning routine and got new music within three days of the national tournament to meet the criteria needed for the title.

“Regardless of where we would have landed, we would have been so proud of ourselves because we did the best that we could possibly do,” Savarino said. “So, regardless of what the judges said, we knew we did our job.”

The co-ed team had been preparing for the national title all season, but made changes to their routine up until the morning of their performance.

The nationals are not a new experience for the team. They’ve traveled to the competition several years in a row and have made it to the podium, but small mistakes have kept them away from the title until this year.

Strawberry Crest knew they had a tough competition in the finals, adding pressure to perfect their routine because the title would come down to the smallest error.

“These kids were great. They trusted that we had to adapt. They trusted that the coaching staff was making the right moves for them, that it was going to come down to this fraction of a point,” she said.

Savarino said after their nationals performance was over, her team was in tears over how proud they were of themselves and how ecstatic they were.

“It was one of the best performances that we have had, and we were very emotional once we got off the floor because we just felt we did our absolute best,” Savarino said.

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Lily Belcher
Lily Belcher is a writer for the Osprey Observer. She started as an intern in the summer of 2020 and has continued to write for the Osprey Observer since completing her internship. Lily is majoring in mass communications at the University of South Florida and is a staff writer for the university’s paper, The Oracle. She enjoys writing about local nonprofit organizations and community role models who have made an impact on her hometown.