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Woodbury cheer team takes home third from nationals

The Woodbury cheer team had the opportunity to spend plenty of time at ESPN's Wide World of Sports where the national competition was held. Pictured there were (front row, left to right) Audrey Xiong, Presley Domke, Katie Johnston, Zoe Bushard, Etah Harris (back row) Rachel Rasmussen, Abby Uphus, Jackie Merten, Gwenny Hanson, Brenna Beck, Emma Wenzel, Rose Graykowski, Alesia Williams, Natalie Torbert. (Submitted photo)

The Woodbury cheerleading team took home some high marks from the National High School Cheerleading Championship Feb.11-12 in Orlando, Fla.

Woodbury competed in two different divisions at nationals. The program's top finish came in the medium varsity non-tumbling game day category where Woodbury ended up taking third place.

The Royals also finished 14th out of 40 teams overall in the small varsity non-tumbling category.

The Royals did not have the opportunity to use their game-day routine as much during the season. But head coach Andria Mattlin said she had a feeling they would be competitive.

"I knew they would do well in that division going into it just based on what I've seen," Mattlin said. "I think they were a little surprised they did so well. But it was fun to watch them see what they were capable of."

Mattlin said Minnesota teams that do well in the game-day competition are often good at coming up with creative cheers. Creativity and execution are important in the routines.

Mattlin was also happy with what she saw from the small varsity non-tumbling team.

"They did really well. It was the first time Woodbury had gone, it was the first time any of the girls had gone," Mattlin said. "They really surpassed my expectations. In the small non-tumbling division they scored higher than any other Minnesota team, so it was really fun to watch them show off our state and our program."

Mattlin said the program only has one senior on this year's team, so they will have an opportunity to come back with more experience next year. The program's goal is to qualify for nationals again next year.

Blaze Fugina

Blaze Fugina is the sports editor of the Woodbury and South Washington County Bulletin newspapers. Previously, Blaze worked as a sports editor for the Pierce County Herald and a sports reporter for the Alexandria Echo Press. He graduated from the University of Wisconsin-River Falls in May of 2011. You can follow Blaze on Twitter at @BlazeFugina.

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