By Ashley Ferraro
Upon completing a successful football season in October of 2019, the Parkland Rangers Mitey-Mites and Jr. Pee Wee cheerleading teams went on to advance all the way to nationals. In order to progress to that level, both teams had to place either 1st or 2nd in local finals, then again in regional finals. Finally, they’d move onto nationals in which hundreds of cheer teams from around the country compete for the top spots. Both the southeast regional and national competitions were held in Orlando, Florida at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex. The Pop Warner Super Bowl and National Cheer and Dance Championships takes place during the first week of December of each year. The venue has hosted the event annually since 1997.
Although the championship spans across an entire week, the Parkland girls were only required to compete on the specific day designated to their age group. The Parkland Rangers Mitey-Mites team placed 9th overall in the national sector. The team consisted of 17 talented girls ranging from 7 to 9 years of age, with most being in 3rd and 4th grade.
Head Mitey-Mites coach Kerry Fleck claims that the Weston Warriors posed the biggest competition for the Rangers at the local level. However, the Rangers became the Grand Champions placing 1st in locals while the Warriors trailed behind in 2nd. The Southeast Region is said to have some very tough competition as well. Fleck is extremely impressed with her team for taking 2nd place, putting them just ahead of the Jupiter Mustangs who took third. Considering the fact that the Rangers Mitey-Mites team was comprised of roughly 50% new girls, this accomplishment deserves bragging rights. Fleck coached alongside her assistant Jaymie Seward this past season.
Consisting of 17 girls ranging from 9 to 11 years of age, the Rangers ‘ Jr. Pee Wee team also progressed to nationals. Both teams competed alongside each other in their respective divisions, cheering each other on as they moved ahead. Head coach Amanda Savastano along with her assistants Patty Intihar and Kelly Schumacher led their team to place 5th overall in the national championship. Along the way, the team placed 1st in both local and regional final competitions, crowning them the Grand Champions. In fact, the Jr. Pee Wee girls scored highest overall in any age group at the regional level for stunts.
Considering the fact that the team has never made it to nationals before, this latest run will go down in Parkland Rangers history. Savastano praised the support her team received from their friends and from the community. A GoFundMe was even created to assist in fundraising efforts.
All age groups of the Parkland Rangers cheerleading teams will be holding registration on Saturday, February 29th from 10 AM – 1 PM at Pine Trails Park. Anyone interested in joining the team can complete the paperwork online but will need to be physically present at the registration event.