REDDING, Calif. - The Shasta High School cheer squad made history over the weekend, placing fifth at the National High School Cheerleading Championship in Orlando, Florida.
The squad reached the highest level by any cheer squad at their school. Plus, they were the only team to represent the Northstate at the competition. Their coach Amy Eiszele said it's just rewarding to be honored for their hard work.
"There were definitely extremely better teams there, so I think that makes me proud," said Eiszele.
Twelve other teams competed in their division of large varsity non tumbling, and seven in the finals. Eiszele said it was exciting just to make it to that level.
"We were top five, close to teams that were really good and scored really high," said Eiszele.
The girls competed last year in Florida, but didn't make it to finals. They knew the second time around it was going to take hard work, dedication and focus.
"We know what competition is on the east coast so it really made us work hard to prove ourselves to them," said Eiszele.
For a squad that works year-round, typically cheering on the sidelines for other teams, competitions are their time to shine.
"We work hard like any other team, it may not get recognized because we don't really show that when we are cheering for other teams, but like at practice we work just as hard," said Cheer captain and senior Sara Stoxen.
The girls returned Monday night after a five day trip, but there's no time for resting.
"We had to be at school today [Tuesday] and going to the game to support the boys for basketball and then we try out again in April," said Eiszele.
Stoxen said this is the perfect way to finish out her four years on the squad, even though she is sad to say goodbye.
"So hard to get to finals and I knew we could do it and we made it," said Stoxen.
The girls gained more than just a trophy.
"I've never felt more like a team than when we were in Florida," said Stoxen.
The team returned with deeper friendships and a renewed sense of pride.
The competition was at the ESPN Wild World of Sports Complex at Walt Disney world in Florida. It costs about one thousand dollars for each girl to compete. The cheerleaders hold fundraisers all year to pay for the trip.