Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Strawberry Crest cheerleaders enjoy national success

DOVER — Strawberry Crest High School has enjoyed a smattering of athletic success in softball and basketball during its brief five years of existence, but the school's highest degree of recognition may come from cheerleading.

In their first appearance at the Universal Cheerleaders Association National High School Cheerleading Championships at the Walt Disney World Resort last month, the Chargers took home a fifth-place trophy out of 33 schools.

"We were super surprised and thrilled," said first-year coach Loveny Rivas.

Competing in the small varsity coed division, which included just two of a maximum four boys allowed, Strawberry Crest used its signature stunts to become the only school in Hillsborough County with a Top 10 national finish to the season. Blackman High School from Murfreesboro, Tenn., a national powerhouse, won a national title for the fourth time in the past five years.

The Chargers started the competitive season by repeating as the Western Conference champions, finishing tops among the 27 public high schools in the county. Strawberry Crest won by 45 points, which Rivas called "unheard of in cheer."

They followed with an FHSAA Region 3 small coed title and finished second out of 14 in the state's small coed division championship, placing for the first time since 2011.

"It's been amazing watching them compete," said John Masson, whose daughter Kelsey Howard is a junior on the squad. "They have been on top of their class all the way around."

Rivas, a Spanish 2 teacher at Strawberry Crest, was the assistant coach the past three years.

Her sister, Chelsea Martin, now serves as the assistant coach.

Rivas has operated her own choreography business the past three summers, one of the keys to the team's success. With more than 10 years of experience, she has produced more than 22 national champion titles.

This year, she took the critiques from each competition and implemented changes to enhance the routine.

"When it comes to the scorecard, it's like a rubric," said Rivas, who designed the routine to emphasize the squad's strengths while hiding any weaknesses.

Rivas added this feat is even more remarkable considering it was a "rebuilding season with eight freshmen and two members without previous cheer experience."

The national coed competition will be televised on ESPN at 9 a.m. March 22; at 3:30 p.m. March 23 on ESPNU; and 1:30 p.m. April 19 on ESPN2.

Eric Vician can be reached at ericvician@yahoo.com.

Strawberry Crest cheerleaders enjoy national success 03/07/14 [Last modified: Friday, March 7, 2014 2:03pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Florida Insiders: The state parties are dying; 'I heard someone long for the leadership of Jim Greer'

    Blogs

    For all the attention on Florida Democratic Chairman Stephen Bittel's bone headed gaffe this week, the diminished state of the once mighty Florida GOP today compared to even a few years ago is arguably more striking than the condition of the long-suffering Florida Democratic Party. A decade ago, no one would have …

    Florida Insider Poll
  2. Florida Democrats surging with grassroots enthusiasm, but 2018 reality is grim

    State Roundup

    After Donald Trump's election, so many people started showing up at monthly Pinellas County Democratic Party meetings, the group had to start forking out more money for a bigger room.

    Former Vice President Joe Biden addresses Florida Democrats at the Leadership Blue Gala on June 17 in Hollywood, Fla. (Photo by Carol Porter)
  3. Will new laws protect condo owners from apartment conversions and rogue associations?

    Real Estate

    Danny Di Nicolantonio has lived in St. Petersburg's Calais Village Condominums for 33 years. Annoyed at times by the actions, or inaction, of the condo board and property managers, he has complained to the state agency that is supposed to investigate.

    That has left him even more annoyed.

    A bill passed by the Florida Legislature would affect places like The Slade in Tampa's Channelside district, where cCondominium owners have battled a plan to convert homes into apartments.
[Times file photo]
  4. Walmart opens first Pinellas County in-house training academy

    Retail

    Seminole — It had all the hallmarks of a typical graduation: robe-clad graduates marching in to Pomp and Circumstance, friends and family packed together under a sweltering tent and a lineup of speakers encouraging the graduates to take charge of their future.

    New Walmart Academy graduates are congratulated Thursday morning by associates during a graduation ceremony at the Walmart store, 10237 Bay Pines Boulevard, St. Petersburg. The Walmart location is one of the company's training academies where managers complete a one week retail course. David Shultz and Richard Sheehan, both from St. Petersburg, get high fives from the crowd.
[SCOTT KEELER   |   Times]

  5. Four questions with Largo City Commissioner Michael Smith before he helps lead the St. Pete Pride parade

    Human Interest

    A decade ago, Largo City Commissioner Michael Smith was afraid to tell his friends and family he was gay.

    Largo City Commissioner Michael Smith will serve as a grand marshal at the St. Pete Pride parade on Saturday. [City of Largo]