GREENVILLE, N.C. (WITN) - Before the sun even rises and classes begin, the D.H. Conley varsity cheerleading squad is up early, hard at work getting ready for nationals.
"We're going to be the first school in Pitt County to attend, so it's a really big milestone for us to accomplish," junior Ashley Campbell said at practice early Monday morning.
The D.H. Conley varsity cheer team will make history in February by becoming the first team from Pitt County to attend the UCA National High School Cheerleading Championship.
"This is like the world series of high school cheerleading," said head coach Stephanie McLean. "There's nothing higher or more prestigious than this competition."
According to the UCA Nationals website: "The National High School Cheerleading Championship (NHSCC) is the most prestigious cheerleading championship in the country. The NHSCC is held at the Walt Disney World® Resort in Orlando, Florida, and nationally televised on ESPN2 and ESPNU to over 100 million homes and 32 countries nationwide each year."
"It'd just be nice to be able to represent our county and our state at a national competition," senior Caitlyn Mayo added.
The Vikings will be participating in the "Gameday Division," which showcases in three minutes what the team would do during a three-hour D.H. Conley football game.
"This is really special to us to be the first team in Pitt County to go because people will think of Conley Cheer when they think of UCA Nationals," senior Carlie Baker said.
These Vikings aren't taking this opportunity for granted. They actually received bids each of the past two years but were unable to attend because of funding. But this year, the support from Viking Nation has the team cheering loud and clear.
"We've made it a team goal and talked about it nonstop throughout our season and talked about what it's going to take to get to this point," added McLean. "And now that it's an option and an opportunity for us, we're not going to stop."
"It's really special to me because it's my senior year, and this is my last year on varsity," said Baker. "I've been on varsity four years, and we get to end the season at the highest level at UCA nationals."
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