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Lions reach finals against 44 other top high school teams from around the nation

COURTESY PHOTO WEST LINN CHEERLEADING - The West Linn High School varsity cheerleading team poses with its trophy after finishing ninth at the Universal Cheerleaders Association National Championships in Orlando, Florida, on Friday, Feb. 7. The West Linn cheerleading team checked all the boxes on their first-ever trip to the Universal Cheerleaders Association National High School Cheerleading Championship on Friday, Feb. 7, in Orlando, Florida.

Advance to the semifinals — Check!

Advance to the finals — Check!

Top-10 Finish — Check!

Zero deductions all day — Check!

Competing in the Super Varsity Non Tumbling Game Day Division, West Linn High School finished ninth overall to bring home some significant hardware to the school's trophy case.

"We are so excited," said West Linn cheer coach Shannon Maloney. "We are so thrilled with the outcome of this past weekend in Florida."

West Linn won its bid to the UCA Nationals by scoring 80 points or more at the Northwest Regional, held in Maple Valley, Washington, back on Nov. 3.

The Lions usually compete in the USA Nationals at Disneyland — including each of the past three years — but when the date of this year's USA Nationals conflicted with the OSAA state meet, West Linn set its sights on qualifying for the UCA Nationals.

While the USA Nationals usually include West Coast teams and teams from Arizona, the UCA Nationals featured many East Coast teams and teams from Texas.

"Those East Schools have a lot of tradition," Maloney said in an earlier story by the Tidings. "You hear about how many of those kids were 'born cheerleading.' It's great that we'll be able see those teams compete."

Next up, the Lions will compete the OSAA state championships on Saturday, Feb. 15, at Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Portland. West Linn will compete in the Class 6A all-girl division with 15 athletes on the floor and are scheduled to compete at 1:45 p.m.

"It's very exciting to be forecasted to place in the top five at state," Maloney said. "We are very hopeful that we will peak at the right time."

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