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LHS Cheerleaders placed first in DoDDS European Championships
WIESBADEN, Germany -- Lakenheath High School cheerleaders perform during the 2012 Department of Defense Dependent Schools Division 1 European Championships Feb. 23, 2012. The LHS cheerleaders won first place during the 2012 DOD Division 1 European Championships and in addition brought home the Spirit Award, which is given to the school with the most spirit, and four individual All Tournament Cheerleader awards. (Courtesy photo by Karin Gorham)
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LHS Cheerleaders place first in DoDDS European Championships

Posted 3/19/2012   Updated 3/19/2012 Email story   Print story


by Senior Airman Lausanne Morgan
48th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

3/19/2012 - ROYAL AIR FORCE LAKENHEATH, England -- Lakenheath High School cheerleaders from both RAF Lakenheath and Mildenhall communities took first place at the 2012 Department of Defense Dependent Schools Division I European Championships in Wiesbaden, Germany, Feb. 25, 2012.

Winning the competition took a lot of hard work, including practice in the mornings before school and every evening.

"I think the hardest thing was probably the conditioning and the morning practices," said Alexa Gorham, LHS cheerleader. "For the longest time we just couldn't hit [our stunts] and everyone was getting frustrated."

Mackenzie Hall, LHS cheerleader, agreed.

"Quite a bit of dedication goes into cheer. It's fun but [it can be] challenging," he added. "It was a lot of pressure and we get one chance."

The DoDDS European Championships is the sole competition of the year with a total of 28 cheerleading teams competing in three different divisions depending on the size of the school.

"[The competition] is a little nerve-wracking," said Gorham. "When you get there, it's kind of scary because you don't know who you're up against."

The LHS cheerleading team consists of 10 members, the maximum amount for a Division I school. The week-long competition consisted of multiple events, including cheering for a game and performing a routine in front of judges.

"We worked hard and we knew we had a good routine, but when they called second and third, I thought we didn't get it," said Hall.

Susanna Renfroe, LHS cheerleading team captain, added that since they have been focusing on sideline and halftime cheering, their major goal was to win the Spirit Award which is given to the school with the most spirit.

The team not only won the Spirit Award, but also four individual awards for Ashley Castellanos, Treyvon Bradsher and team captains Susanna Renfroe and Darian Crowley.

When asked who their biggest motivator was, the consensus was their coaches, Sean Smith and Nichole Brown.

"We were pretty devastated when [Smith] had to leave a week before [the competition]," said Gorham. "We were pretty happy when we won because then we can tell him, 'look what you did, you built us up and now we did this for you.' We really appreciated everything that he did and we couldn't have done it without him."

In addition to the awards won by the team and individuals, the rewards of their hard work and commitment will be longer lasting.

"This is what these kids crave from day one, and we, speaking on behalf of all the parents, are so glad they accomplished their goal," said Karim Gorham, LHS parent. "They brought it all home for Lakenheath High School and that is something they will have to cherish for a lifetime."

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