by Sam C.
AmeriCheer International Championships: a dream for all teams, though only achieved by some. Duxbury Dragons’ cheerleaders get to shoot their shots.
For the first time in program history, Duxbury High School’s varsity cheerleading team received a bid– – to Nationals, and knew they needed to seize the opportunity. The competition will be held in Orlando, Florida at Universal Studios on March 19th and March 20th. Teams from all over the nation– and around the globe– will be attending. Though, with every victory, there are grueling obstacles along the way.
Unfortunately, COVID-19 is still a problem all teams are facing, including Duxbury’s own.
“I don’t think we would’ve been able to go if COVID was at its height like last year,” said freshman Fiona O.
At the beginning of their winter season in late December, the true roadblocks COVID-19 showed up for the squad.
“Early in the season we had a lot of kids missing for 5 days at a time for COVID-19 and some for injuries,” said Coach Jen Carley said, “so just getting everyone at practice consistently for days in a row was a big challenge, but that has gotten a lot better.”
Since the team’s confirmation to attend, COVID-19 restrictions throughout the state have been lifted, allowing students to be mask-optional throughout Duxbury High. Numbers are dropping, and eighty percent of the school is fully vaccinated according to Principal Jim Donovan in the February 14th newsletter. The team must go through mandatory testing, but other than that they are unsure of COVID regulations at the convention center.
COVID-19 is one roadblock the team had faced, but getting clearance on top of that proved to be another issue.
“It was really tough at first,” said senior Captain Mikaela C. “Fundraising and money was definitely the biggest problem we had to face.”
The squad has raised most of their funds through fundraising, whether it be through a bake sale or sponsored through a brand where they get a percentage of the profits, like recently with Remix Nutrition in Marshfield.
“It’s been a lot easier than I thought it would be. Involvement from the parents and kids has been great,” said Jen Carley.
In all of Duxbury Dragon history, this will be the most difficult and challenging mat the girls have performed on.
“No one else has ever done it before, so I think it’s a new start,” said Fiona O.
In preparation for the competition, Duxbury Cheerleading recently placed second in their division at Regionals, which was held in Bellingham, and had placed top three throughout the entirety of their winter season. Prior to that, the girls placed second at Regionals in November, held at Marshfield, and sixth in the state, which earned them their Nationals bid.
“It’s really exciting to be the first team to go,” said Mikaela C.
The competition will be available to view online on Prosscored on March 19th and 20th.