ORLANDO - At the 2013 Universal Cheerleading Association Championships in Orlando this weekend, Forbush brought home more than recognition for Yadkin County and North Carolina.
The Falcons turned in a near-perfect performance Sunday to capture the large varsity non-tumble world championship.
“We were thinking if we could just make the top five, we’d be thrilled,” coach Lark Williams explained. “They gave nine awards. When they called out Mexico for the bronze, we were like ‘wow, that’s who we thought was going to win it.’ Then they called Fort Walton for the silver, and they were the team that beat us and won nationals.
“Then they said ‘Forbush,’ and we just brought the house down. It was the Super Bowl of Cheerleading - it was crazy. I don’t even know how to describe,” she added, fighting back tears.
Heading into the championship weekend at ESPN’s Wide World of Sports Complex in Orlando - the school’s first qualification - the Falcons were looking “not to finish last.”
Competing against over 22,000 cheerleaders from across the country in the national competition Saturday, Forbush stumbled on a stunt and finished seventh out of 10 teams.
“I think we would have placed [at nationals] if we didn’t drop two stunts. That stunt group that fell, never falls. It was just a different experience.”
The Falcons bounced back in a big way the following day at the world championship.
Competing against the same teams from nationals, plus five international squads from Argentina, Costa Rica, Mexico, Canada and China, Forbush was nearly perfect in its final routine.
At the awards ceremony, the top-nine squads were read off, starting with ninth place. After six teams heard their names called, Williams said the Falcons knew they medaled.
“When we got down to the top three, we looked over to (athletic director) Pat Mitchell and said ‘we’ve medaled!’” she explained. “I told the girls that if we place, we need to be really proud of ourselves. This is the first time in school history that we’ve even qualified for the tournament.”
Mexico - the perennial favorite to win - finished third, while Fort Walton - the national champions - finished second, sealing the world title for the Falcons.
After returning home to dozens of parents and fans waving banners and posters late Monday night, Williams said she wanted to thank the businesses in Yadkinville and East Bend that helped the team make the trip.
“The businesses in Yadkinville were amazing,” she said. “We have a T-shirt and on the back we have probably 100 businesses in Yadkinville and East Bend that gave money for us to go. We’re thankful for their help. We were able to bring home some recognition for Yadkin County - not just nationally, but globally.”
Reach Matthew Gorry at 835-1513 or firstname.lastname@example.org.