HARLINGEN — In Sync.
It’s not just a boy band anymore. It’s also a group of cheerleaders who just won big at a national competition in Florida.
“We made sure that everything was in sync and everyone knew their choreography,” said Sarah Urbina, 16, a junior at Harlingen High School.
Sarah is the captain of the 45-member Cardettes, who took their performance to Orlando, Florida, this past weekend for the Contest of Champions Nationals at the Walt Disney World Resort. Tuesday morning the young ladies returned to school, tired after the trip and still euphoric from the experience.
“It was an awesome experience,” said Arianna Herrera, 16, a junior and first lieutenant for the Cardettes.
“I really enjoyed it and made so many memories with my team,” Arianna said. “I think all of us came together and picked each other up and worked with each other.”
The Cardettes competed against more than 200 dance squads from throughout the United States and impressed everyone. Their directors couldn’t say enough about the dancers’ accomplishments.
“I feel so happy and excited that they have accomplished such a great national honor,” said assistant director Carissa Salinas.
“Some of these girls don’t get the opportunity to enjoy Disney World or even exit Texas,” she said. “It was their first time competing, and so for them to get first, second, and third was an awesome experience for them and for myself as a first year director.”
The cheerleaders competed in three categories: military, pom and novelty, said cheer director Veronica Cretors. They took first place in novelty, second place in military and third in pom.
“The military is a very sharp drill-like routine,” Cretors said. “The pom is a dance with pom-poms. Their novelty performance was very high energy. It was a fun dance that really allowed the girls to just show how much they love to be out on the dance floor and perform.”
Both she and Salinas are former Cardettes who put a great deal of passion into their work with the girls, who went the extra mile by practicing long hours after school. The girls know they earned their top ratings.
“I think we worked hard and we deserved it,” Sarah said. “I am amazed we got first, second and third place. It just feels overwhelming.”
The experience will stay with them for a lifetime, Salinas said.
“Their dedication taught them leadership skills and responsibility they’re going to need to survive in the real world when they go on to college and get a job,” she said.