Cougars make history
By By Matthew Nascone
The Escambia Academy varsity cheerleaders traveled to Montgomery July 10-13 to compete in the Alabama Independent School Association Universal Cheerleaders Association camp at Huntingdon College. The girls walked away from camp with something they have never achieved at the camp.
They were named the runner-up squad for Camp Champs behind Wilcox Academy's cheerleaders in the small varsity division. Sonya Ellis, EA's cheer sponsor, said this has never occurred in EA cheer history.
"This was a very good showing for us," Ellis said. "Cheerleading continues to strengthen at Escambia Academy and I am proud our girls are being recognized for their talent and hard work."
And Ellis said that hard work has shown the past couple years as EA grabbed the first place trophy in the home pom competition. That was the first time EA had placed first in any of the four categories in the competition.
This year EA brought home four trophies, the second place overall finish for camp champs, second in the home pom section, second in the cheer section and second in the extreme routine section.
Ellis said the home pom section of the competition comprises a dance the girls choreographed on their own and the cheer and extreme routine sections are learned at the camp with the team's own incorporations added.
"Not only do these girls work hard, they work together," Ellis said. "Each one of them stepped up at camp. Katie (Smith) made it to the final four in the jump-off. Rachel (Ellis) was used to demo the hip hop dance for UCA in the competition. She picked up on the routine quickly and the UCA judges saw that. Anna-Lisa (McGhee) and Sara Beth (Davis) learned to base several stunts together with Malori (McGhee) being the fearless top girl. Alaina (Arnold) was our twist contest entry and Courtney (Bruley) represented us well, performing the extreme routine for the Retro Rally."
Ellis also said the bond between the girls is amazing and there is nothing like it in the world.
Placing high at camp was not something the girls expected going into it, but Ellis said it was a welcome surprise.
"They were excited, but they never knew they were going to do that well," she said. "They were not expecting it at all."
The small varsity division included six squads and the determining factor on which division a squad was placed was the number of girls in each squad.
Up next for the girls is the football season and Ellis said it should be another exciting year.
"We are planning to have something different for the crowd every week," Ellis said. "We want the people to be saying 'I wonder what they will be doing this week.'"
That element of surprise will include many more dance-oriented displays this year. Ellis said last year's squad was a more stunt-oriented squad, but this year's unit is more skilled in the dance aspect of the sport.
Ellis said she was excited her girls did well at camp and she can't wait for the football season to start.