LEBANON, Mo- If you drive south down Jefferson Ave, the main drag in Lebanon, during the evening you may hear the yells, stomps, and flips happening at Champion Athletics gym.
Inside this gym, you will find cheer squads practicing on mats, trampolines, and other gymnastic equipment. One squad, Mayhem, is practicing for something that is a first for the Ozarks.
“They just opened up a new division with Varsity Performance Rec. So we decided to try that division this year,” says Coach Kristina McCoy, she also owns Champion Athletics.
The team had their first cheer event earlier in November and got two bids to two different national championships says, Coach McCoy.
“It was the first team in the nation to get two bids at one event. So we got our gold bid to U.S. Finals this season, and we also got our Quest bid to Flordia. It’s the first time they’ve had Quest, so we’re excited to be the first team to bring it to the community here,” she says.
According to the Varsity Cheerleading website, “The Quest Recreational Championship is the most competitive and prestigious end-of-season event for Rec & Youth Cheer. Teams will earn Paid Bids and At-Large Bids to The Quest during the season at several Varsity Spirit events. This exclusive event will be held at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at the Walt Disney World® Resort, Florida. The Quest will feature the nation’s top Rec teams from across the country.”
This experience is a first for the whole team, but for 16-year-old Jayla Wells, this experience would mean way more.
“This is the first year that we have been able to get bids to go to competitions further away and maybe go to finals,” says Wells.
Wells has been on Coach McCoy’s team since she was nine.
“Next year will be my last year cheering, so it’s pretty exciting to just kind of end it with maybe a trip to Disney World, and to travel with my friends,” says Wells.
The Quest competition is in March, and Coach McCoy and her team are asking for financial help from the community with GoFundMe pages, local events, and some raffles.