VALRICO — Dancing, tumbling and jumping to a combination of sped up songs from Katy Perry and Rihanna, the Bloomingdale cheerleaders outbattled 24 other teams to earn a state cheerleading title last weekend in Kissimmee.
The Bulls won back-to-back titles in 2008 and 2009, but their winning streak ended last season.
This year, the Bloomingdale squad's determination to reclaim their title helped them win back the Florida High School Activities Association's competitive cheerleading championship in the Class 2A Large Varsity division.
Sporting their red and black uniforms, the Bulls showcased their most difficult routine yet. Coach Candice Teague said the routine displayed endurance, complex stunts, astounding tumbling and careful attention to technique.
Teague also said the day of the competition couldn't have been more perfect because of what the squad saw as a good sign. Before entering the arena, the excited squad met outside by a bull statue at Silver Spurs Arena in Kissimmee, symbolizing their lucky day.
"The excitement in their faces couldn't be contained, they were feeding off each other's positive energy," Teague said.
As Teague watched nervously, the Bulls cheerleaders performed their routine. Teague said they stood out because of their togetherness.
"All I asked them to do was give it their all, and to watch that happen was amazing," adds Teague. "It was very emotional to see their hard work paid off."
Bloomingdale had the highest score of 88.28 in the 2A Large Varsity division, while the state runner up, Winter Park scored 84.2 and Durant placed third with a score of 83.
Second-year school Strawberry Crest also did well, earning the state runner-up title in the Class 1A Large Varsity division.
Krystel Knowles can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.