North Bullitt Cheer competed again this season as a Super Large team. This year UCA made enrollment changes for the large & super large divisions; meaning 1300 plus schools would be classified as D1, and below would be in D2. This rocked the Large and Super Large Divisions, for it's difficult for smaller schools to have enough student athletes for large programs. While there may not be as many programs in these divisions, does NOT mean the talent isn't there and nothing is guaranteed. Some may say the divisions in these sizes are easier, they're not, you still have to hit all the progressions and ratios that go into cheer.
After State we had to reflect on a lot as coaches and a team, for we were not pleased with our performance.. We had the most difficult routine in NB history, the most tumbling ever, and it just was not clicking. The main difference from our State performance and Nationals is that we removed the tumbling and added more stunts, moving to Super Large Non-Tumble. This proved to be the best decision for many of our athletes as they pull double duty with allstars, gave our twisters a break on their ankles, eased some anxiety of all our kids to allow their body to rest, and really focus on the biggest part of the cheer scoresheet and that's stunting - which also helps us for next season. Historically, North Bullitt cheer has had some of the best tumbling in the state, and we have really pushed our stunting since Randy and I took over; NBC was fine with elite stunts, however to be truly competitive Super Elite stunt skills are needed. Those Super Elites included adding diamidov and hand to hand pop throughs, first ever for North. Our athletes were disappointed with the State performance, we just didn't hit our routine, and even though we ended 3rd, we had to work harder; nothing in cheerleading is ever given. Ever.
After our kids hit their first two stunt sequences in Finals, we knew they would feed off that energy and keep going. They absolutely killed the cheer. It was so amazing for it wasn't just North Bullitt parents in the stands yelling our cheer, it was the Bullitt East cheer program, and their parents! The arena was electric and our cheerleaders fed off that - it was absolutely beautiful cheerleading. Our girls then moved on to the second half of the routine and nailed everything. As soon as I saw our top girls come out of their inversions, I knew they had done it. We ended Finals with a 92.2 overall, of which 34.5 of 35 was the cheer, and the first ever National title for North Bullitt Cheer.
This team has been special for we have pivoted so much, and it has not been easy; they persevered and stuck it out when we have had to make hard decisions that were best for the team. This team has had more access to specialists in our sport as well, it truly takes a village, and we love all of our village. It's hard to trust the process, but you have to as an athlete and a parent. We competed in two different divisions, Game Day & 2.5 - with the same kids pulling double duty, that's difficult. Unfortunately, in Game Day we did not advance to Finals, we had a fluke issue on a stunt - which is a huge reminder to always respect the skill. It's frustrating to miss a simple basic skill, and then hit one of the hardest in another division, but that's how cheer is. We prepare, we work, we go for the hit, and we train smart cheerleading - fight for the stunts, keep going.
Of course we always talk about the future and what we would "like" to do next season, however we also say that "if you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans." Will we stay competitive and keep pushing? Yes. Will we stay Super Large? Who knows. Building a tradition? Absolutely, we live in Bullitt County, it is the way.
Cheer tryouts for next season are April 17th-April 19th, with an interest meeting set for March 30th. Follow us on Instagram at @northbullittcheer.
-- Destiny Watson, NBHS Cheer Coach