February 13, 2018 05:57 AM
Bringing home another jacket.
That was the goal for Bloomington Jefferson senior Lucy Snider and her teammates on the school's cheerleading squad going into this past weekend's 2018 National High School Cheerleading Championship at the Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando.
White jackets are awarded to teams that capture a national title, as Bloomington Jefferson did in their division in 2017.
And Sunday, Snider and company won another championship, coming home as winners in the Large Varsity Game Day class.
Which meant team members were wearing brand-new jackets as they prepared to board a flight back to Minnesota Monday morning.
"The jacket is just a visual representation of all the hard work we put in this year," said Snider, a team captain. "We've had a tough season with injuries and illness, but we pushed through all that. And we ended up finishing first down here again, so we must be doing something right."
And Jefferson was not the only Minnesota team that came home a winner. Woodbury earned a national title in the Small Varsity Non-Tumbling Game Day division.
"We had a really good mix of girls and they really wanted it," said Woodbury coach Andria Mattlin, whose squad was competing at nationals for just the second time. "They worked hard with this goal in mind and it's really cool to see it happen."
Mattlin said her team too was treasuring the white jackets.
"It was 85 down here yesterday and they wouldn't take those jackets off," said Mattlin, whose team was scheduled to return to Minnesota Tuesday.
Meanwhile, Minnetonka - which captured two national titles a year ago - finished second in both the Small Varsity Non-Tumbling Routine and Medium Varsity Non-Tumbling Game Day classes.
"We had a blast," Minnetonka coach Andre Brewer said. "We knew having seven returners from last year and six new people that we had a tough road. But it was awesome. I'm so proud of the way we rose to the occasion.
"We actually did a harder routine than we did last year with less experience."
Of the 20 members of this season's Jefferson team, head coach Taylor Mancini said 14 returned from a year ago, making it an experienced group that entered competition this weekend.
"That helps a lot," Mancini said. "We knew how to prepare."
Mancini, who cheered at Jefferson for six years herself, is in her second season as the team's coach. That makes it two seasons ... two national titles.
"She's a good coach," Snider said. "She cheered here for six years, so she knows what she's talking about."
The competition was streamed live online and will air on ESPN or ESPN2 at a future date.
"It feels amazing," said fellow senior and team captain Hayley Wheeler. "We had a lot to overcome this year, so to come back with a jacket really means a lot.
The jacket is what everybody who goes into this competition is going for."
And two Minnesota teams are coming home with them.
"That was really cool to see," Mattlin said. "It's a big deal."
Updated: February 13, 2018 05:57 AM
Created: February 12, 2018 11:59 AM
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