Valley Cheerleading Wins State, National Championship

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WEST DES MOINES, Iowa -- This isn't 'pom-pom' cheerleading.

At Valley, it's a system.

"Being on the team, you expect to win, because of the precedent," said senior Hanna Boeckenstedt.

The program's ninth state championship came this year, and then the Tigers took their act to Dallas, and the national stage.

"Prelims are on Saturday, and finals are on Sunday, so you have to be able to show up and do your routine twice," said head coach Beth Ferguson. "That's always been a challenge for us. But this year, they were really good both days."

The result, was a national championship in the Small Advanced High School division.

"It was just so amazing to compete and do really well," said senior Kamryn Cook. "So after we were called first place, it was really just the icing on the cake."

The routines look smooth once it's all said and done, but one of Ferguson's challenges is to find the girls that have the right skill-sets to tackle nationals. This year, that wasn't easy.

"We had a couple girls that had never done cheerleading before this year," said Ferguson. "The fliers, the ones that are in the air, we only had one returning, so two of them were new to it, never having done cheerleading at all."

So how does a team lacking experience, go two-for-two on titles? It's pretty simple.

"I will not handle drama," said Ferguson. "It's a bunch of high school kids in a room. I just don't handle it. If that's how you're going to be, then you're not going to be a part of our program."

"We definitely tried to incorporate being inclusive and creating that bond between everyone on the team so we all felt comfortable," said Boeckenstedt.

And it showed on the mat.

"Just seeing the growth of the team, and the individuals just wanting to work and wanting to win, it was such a cool experience to be on such a deserving team," said senior Payton Cooper.

"They show up every day, and you have great attitudes every day," said Ferguson. "I would rather have that, than super crazy talent. Because you know that they're going to come in every day and improve."

And continue to build on the dynasty.

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