DALLAS, Texas — The Johnston High School cheerleading squad was crowned national champions at the National Cheerleading Association’s Senior & Junior High School National Championship.
Johnston competed in the Advanced Small Game Performance Division, which combines crowdleading with the most elite stunts and tumbling that high school athletes are allowed to perform.
Johnston beat out 11 other teams from across the country to win the championship, including three-time defending champions Choctaw High School from Oklahoma.
Johnston’s national championship squad includes nine athletes — Seniors – Rylee Anderson, Karleen Derry and Ali Safris, Juniors – Chloe Fox, Katherine Hanson, Sarah Hoffman, Madison Lewis and Elly Shaw and Freshman – Ava Brueckner. The team is coached by Alex Andre, Kate Safris and Marcus Walker.
Safris says the squad overcame adversity to win the national title.
“Just hours before the team left for Dallas, they were faced with the unexpected challenge of completely reworking their routine to accommodate the absence of a team member. Doing so required team members stepping up to take on different roles and perform new skills on a moment’s notice. The team’s ability to face this challenge and compete was a win in itself, but to also take home a National Championship was a truly incredible feat and a testament to the athleticism and grit of these nine girls,” said Safris.