Two and half days of practice, two flights, and over 5,900 miles later, The U.S. National Team has arrived in Lodz, Poland, ready to take on the first international competition.
In just a few short days, USA Cheer will compete against 13 other talented countries on October 5-6 at the FISU World University Cheerleading Championship.
This event marks the first time cheerleading will be a part of the World University Championship calendar, and the new addition marks another historic step in cheerleading’s journey to becoming an Olympic sport.
Before the U.S. National Team was able to add another stamp to their passports, they met up in Los Angeles to practice and prepare as a team for the championship ahead.
Renowned U.S. National Team coaches Leroy McCullough and Savannah Sibley had their work cut out for them as they helped prepare their team to compete with such a short time to practice.
“This training is different from our normal training because we only have 2.5 days together before we leave,” McCullough explained. “With the championship taking place in the middle of football season and school, it is even more challenging to pull athletes away from school.”
On their first night of practice, the Eagles went straight to work putting together their routine. They drilled their elites and opening hand in hand stunts to make sure every athlete felt comfortable with the skills and their role within the routine.
By Day 3 of practices, the U.S. National Team was running their routine full out. During their afternoon practice, the team performed in front of the students at the middle school, where they were practicing at and received their first hit!
“This team has done amazing things in the six practices that we have had. They are definitely ready. I think their talent and work ethic made this process smoother than anyone could imagine.”
Before heading to the airport the next morning, USA had one final practice to run their routine and logged another hit before saying goodbye to the States.
“Putting a routine this difficult together in two and a half days is unheard of... but we did it and I’m so proud of this team already!” – USA Athlete, Millery Null
On October 4, the FISU World University Cheerleading Championship will officially begin with the opening welcome ceremony. The competing teams will get to meet up after at the cultural exchange and make friends before they take the mat this weekend to compete.
USA Cheer is honored to be invited to compete in Poland and the hope to represent their country proudly with their performance.
"I am always humbled by any opportunity I have to represent our country. But being able to travel to compete on foreign soil takes it to a whole new level," McCullough said. "I am so excited and thankful for this opportunity. And I’m most excited for the athletes that we have that have never been out of the country who will get an experience of a lifetime, all due to cheerleading.... what a blessing!"
Be sure to follow @USAcheer to watch as the U.S. National Team makes their journey to Poland and competes this weekend at the FISU World University Cheerleading Championship. As always, Go U-S-A!