Cheer — NHS claims top spot in the USA Spirit Nationals to cap a nearly perfect campaign

ANAHEIM, Calif. — Having already captured the OSAA state cheerleading title and the Oregon Cheerleading Coaches Association Oregon Cheer Championship in February, the Newberg High School cheerleading team had just one thing to attain: a national championship.

Just like they have at every competition this year, head coach Lisa Berg’s Tigers rose to the challenge, capturing the top spot in the small varsity show/non-tumbling division Sunday at the United Spirit Association (USA) Spirit Nationals.

If that wasn’t enough, Allison Schmidt, Ally Hagen, Marlee Shroll, Rilee Rosauer and Kaitlyn Russo also claimed a national championship as a stunt group.

“We had to step up our game in terms of difficulty just to place,” Schmidt said. “It definitely felt good to end my senior year this way.”

Newberg competed in preliminaries Friday and was one of three teams selected to compete in the finals.

After completing their finals routine Sunday, it was all smiles as the team awaited to hear its fate.

That’s a stark contrast to the state meet, where a major mistake in the routine had the team mired in uncertainty.

“At that point, I think we were all happy to be given the chance to compete in the finals and that we would place in the top three,” Schmidt said. “So, regardless of how we placed, I think we were going to be happy with the way we performed and the opportunity we were given. When we found out we took first, we were overly excited. We couldn’t believe it. It was a very happy moment.”

Schmidt pointed to the team’s dedication as the reason why they were able to win at every level this season.

“When one teammate checks out or isn’t completely dedicated, it’s hard to make the team work so well,” Schmidt said. “This year we definitely had a group of girls that were all dedicated and really wanted to win.”

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