The US National Coed Team recently competed in Costa Rica and brought home two gold medals! The training process happened very quickly, but the athletes were able to pull it off and were successful along the way. Take a dive into their day-by-day journey to Costa Rica!
US National Coed Team In Costa Rica
Sunday, October 13th (Travel/Day 1 Training)
Training Location: NCA Varsity Office
On Sunday, all of the team members traveled to Plano, Texas to begin training! The athletes came from all over the country to prepare for the Pan American Championships in San Jose, Costa Rica. Practice began around 2:00 PM to allow travelers to make it on time.
During the first practice, the US National Coed Team coach, Leroy, set the routine and put everyone in their spots. The team marked the routine multiple times just to become familiar with their parts, and then they got right to it!
The elite partners started to rep out the elite sequence to gain timing. The elite sequence for this routine was a one-arm rewind, followed by four groups popping off to set for an extended hand in hand to immediate stretch. The other four groups popped off to an immediate touch and go ball-in-chain to immediate stretch. From there, the front three groups did a pike split half to their back, while the back five groups did a kick double dismount.
Some of the stunt couples were the same from the ICU World Cheerleading Championships in April, and some were different. After working the elite for a while, they began working the IME with their partners.
Leroy moved a few couples around to make the best fit for that particular section and the team began repping them out to the music. The IME for this routine ended up being a full up, pull opposite lib power press to a stretch, followed by a corkscrew dismount. After some good IME work, the team took a dinner break!
After dinner break was over, it was time for pyramids! The team worked on the ending pyramid pieces separately until they started to build some consistency. The athletes worked very hard and were extremely focused, which led to a successful pyramid hit on the first night!
Monday, October 14th (Day 2 Training)
Training Location: Cheer Athletics Plano
It was time for the first full day of training in Plano! The team began practice at 9 AM and started working on each element in the routine individually. Pyramids and baskets were first on the list for that morning. The athletes went through their first sign of adversity as they began to put these sections together.
Stunts were next! After going through each stunt section, elites, double cupies and IMEs, Leroy made a couple of coaching decisions to set the team up for success. With the condensed timeline for training, Leroy changed the elements to something the team could perform more confidently.
It was lunch time and Leroy told the team that after the break we were putting the sections together. After coming back, all stunts, pyramids and baskets were thrown together for the first time! It was a tough run through, but the athletes got through it and began to work on the elements that needed the most help at that time – pyramids.
The shotgun pyramid was a strong element for each group on the team, but keeping it consistent was the biggest obstacle. With the time the team had left to prepare, Leroy made another coaching decision and changed the element to a drop toss rewind. The change made this section significantly cleaner and more consistent!
Next, the team had dinner and came back to put together the cheer. After setting the pyramid groups and giving it a couple of run throughs, the cheer was ready to go!
Tuesday, October 15th (Day 3 Training)
Training Location: Cheer Athletics Plano
The soreness was kicking in and this was the toughest day so far for the athletes. It was time to go full out for the first time! The team started warming up stunts right away, followed by baskets and pyramids. The team hit a pyramid speed bump and had to take a moment to fix spacing to make it work.
After working through this, Leroy told the team to warm up tumbling and in 20 minutes they were going full out. The team was hyped and super excited, but of course there were those first full out butterflies.
After the run through, the team lined back up at the beginning of the routine and did anything they missed. Then, they watched their routine on the TV and evaluated their skills. They saw what they could do better and Leroy gave them another 20 minutes to breathe before lining it up for their second full out!
The next routine showed improvement in the skills that they focused on, but new issues happened as well. Once again, the team lined up at the beginning and did anything they missed. They watched on the TV and were able to point out improvements from to first run through, but new things that needed attention.
They finished practice repping out the sections that needed work and the team was done for the night! This allowed their bodies to take a break before their showcase the next night.
Wednesday, October 16th (Day 4 Training/Performance Day)
The team came back fully rested after not having a third practice the day before and was ready to go full out again! The coaches put together the official warm up run through and put the process to the test. This was also the first full out with the cheer in front of it.
The team went a little over the allotted warm up time, so the coaches made some adjustments to the warm up plan. The gym owners of Cheer Athletics, along with a few other visitors stopped by practice to see the progress! The team got a couple more full outs under their belt and then took a lunch break.
After the lunch, the team came back for a practice so short, even the coaches didn’t know it would happen so quickly! Leroy told the team that each section in the routine had to be hit three times in order to move on. Once all the sections were complete, the team could go rest and get ready for the performance.
The athletes hit each section 3 out of 3 times, except for one. This even shocked the athletes! The ending pyramid was a struggle here and there, but they started to become more comfortable with it. After finally reaching their 3 solid hits, the team did the cheer and then took their break.
All of the athletes got “competition ready” and showed up in their uniforms two hours later for their show off to all of the Cheer Athletics athletes and coaches in the gym. The team went through their timed warm up and was ready to show everyone what they had been working on for the past few days.
The gym turned on their competition lights and the team huddled up one last time before taking the floor. All of the CA athletes and coaches surrounded the center floor and were chanting “USA! USA! USA!” They took the floor and two and a half minutes later they were celebrating after hitting their first zero deduction routine!
Everything in the routine was not as perfect as the team was working towards, but there were no deductions, which was a huge step in the right direction. The athletes took tons of pictures their first night in uniform as a team, and headed back to the hotel to rest. Tomorrow, they leave for Costa Rica!
Thursday, October 17th (Travel Day)
The athletes all hopped in cars to the airport and the Eagles took flight for Costa Rica! This was also a good rest day of no practice for the athletes.
Friday, October 18th (Community Service/Practice)
Early Friday morning, both the US National Coed Team and the Adaptive Abilities Unified Team visited the school for children with disabilities. The teams played basketball and bocce ball with the children and had a great time! They even got a tour of the school.
Before leaving, both teams showcased a few skills and the children loved it! Then, it was time to load the bus up for practice. The team made their way to a local gym, PCM Costa Rica to get their practice time in.
The team had such good first practice that the second planned practice was canceled in order for them to rest. Before leaving for dinner, they visited with some of the athletes from Costa Rica and took lots of pictures together. The team then headed over to the mall to grab dinner.
Saturday, October 19th (Competition Day) - Pan American Championships
It was the day the athletes had been preparing for! Before the competition started, the athletes gathered at the mall for opening ceremonies and cultural exchange. It’s always fun for the athletes to meet cheerleaders from other countries!
The team headed back to the hotel to prepare for the competition and rest for a bit. They jumped back on the bus and went to support the Adaptive Abilities Unified Team! For their pre warm up, USA Coed headed to PCM Costa Rica to get in a few last minute reps before taking the warm up floor.
Now it was time for their official warm up time backstage. The team walked over and stood beside the mat until their time started. After a solid warm up, they were ready! The team was welcomed onto the floor by fans chanting “USA! USA! USA!” There was a small problem with the music, so the team had to stand on stage for a bit before they could begin.
When the routine started, there was a glitch in the music at the very beginning and then completely shut off after two minutes. The team continued to count out the routine and ended with a solid ending pyramid!
The routine was not the zero deduction product they’d hoped for, they would only hope for the best when it came to results.
It was time for awards and everyone gathered around the stage. The Adaptive Abilities Unified Team started the USA off strong with a gold medal win! It was now time for Premiere Coed awards, although they had a couple issues, USA Coed took the gold as well!
The teams were extremely excited, and lucky for them, they got the opportunity to compete again the next day for redemption. A gold medal for the USA is amazing, but they wanted to finish with a solid routine!
Sunday, October 20th (Competition Day) - COPA
It was the final day of competition! The athletes woke up, got breakfast, and made their way to PCM Costa Rica for a couple more run throughs. A few athletes even played golf before getting ready for the competition! After their pre warm up, it was time to head over to the venue. It was pouring down rain outside, but the team didn’t let that distract them!
The competition was running a little behind, so the team had to stand around for a little while longer than usual. Anda, the athletic trainer who traveled to Costa Rica with the team, had the athletes do a couple of exercises to keep them warm. It was time for them to take the floor!
Once again, the team took the floor with a ton of fans chanting “USA! USA! USA!” and the routine began. This time, after the two minutes and thirty seconds was over, the team was celebrating a zero deduction routine!
They had accomplished their end goal and now just had to wait for awards. For the second time that weekend, both the Adaptive Abilities Unified Team and the US National Coed Team earned a gold medal! USA Cheer was returning to the United States with four gold medals!
Monday, October 21st (Site Seeing Day)
This day was filled with nothing but fun! The team jumped on a two-hour bus ride and prepared to go white water rafting. The team had already learned to work so well together, so for them, this should be easy!
White water rafting was a lot more intense than some of the athletes realized, but luckily no one fell out. It was a great way to bond and have some fun before the trip came to a close. The team dried off, had some lunch and headed back to the hotel.
Everyone gathered at a nearby restaurant to celebrate their successes. The athletes talked about their journey, favorite memories and fun stories from along the way. Everyone made their rounds at the end of the night and hugged each and every member on the team. It was a bittersweet moment, but one they’ll remember forever!
Tuesday, October 22nd (Travel Day)
This was the saddest day for the athletes as they said goodbye to their friends and teammates they had gotten so close with. The US National Coed Team left for the airport early in the morning and headed back to the United States with two gold medals!
Want to watch USA Coed in action? Watch Going For Gold: USA Coed | Season 4 NOW!