If you looked inside the News Journal’s February 10 sports section you probably noticed the full-color page congratulating the Corbin High School cheerleading team on recently becoming national champions. The CHS cheer squad won their first-ever national title over the weekend at the Universal Cheerleaders Associations’ national championship competition in Orlando, Florida. They beat out all other teams in the Medium Varsity Division II in order to earn their trophy, medals and jackets.
One member of the Corbin cheerleading team, sophomore Abbey Norvell, was asked to share her experiences with us. Here is what she had to say…
Since I was six years old, I’ve wanted a white satin jacket. Ten years later, I have one, and it is all that it’s chalked up to be.
When we first arrived in our nationals rooms at Disney, there were pictures laid out on our beds. Some were pictures of our stunt group but others were of quotes. One that stuck out to me was one from Walt Disney that said, “Whatever we accomplish belongs to our entire group, a tribute to our combined effort.” Our national title is OURS. Our combined effort led us to attain something no team before us has.
I wanted to win. That wasn’t my first priority, though. My first priority was hitting the routine. Everything else would take care of itself. The fact that we had hit it so many times in practice and during expos put that much more pressure on us but instilled that much more confidence.
I have to give credit where credit is due. My teammates encourage me and push me to be better day in and day out. All I was feeling on Sunday, on finals day, was positive vibes. We were ready.
When I’m out on that stage, nothing matters but the girls to the left and right of me. We have been through everything together- the rough practices, the late night double headers, the exhausting expos. It’s all worth it now. We always talk about doing it for our team if we’re too tired or lazy to do it for ourselves. You have 15 other girls depending on you to do your job- so go out there and do it.
We knew that no matter what place we got, we left it all out on the mat. The ESPN announcers had announced everything up to third place. Third place was Bishop McCort, the only other team in our division that went straight from prelims to finals. They won nationals the year prior in the large division, so we knew that was some of our biggest competition. All that was left, though, was us and Rocky Point. All that was left was “one from the northeast and one from the south, one from New York and one from Kentucky,” as the ESPN announcer stated.
I squeezed my teammates’ hands. I squeezed my eyes shut. I laid my head on my cheer sister’s shoulder and my heart pounded against my chest, threatening to burst. “And the runner up, an outstanding program, Rocky Point high school!” I didn’t celebrate. Not yet. Tears were starting to escape from my shut eyelids and my legs were becoming weak from tiredness and jubilation. I was shaking when the loudspeakers proclaimed, “And the medium varsity division II national champs are… Corbin High School!” I jumped up and down. I hugged my best friends. I cried tears of pure delight. I prayed and thanked God for allowing me to be a national champion because there’s nothing quite like it.
After we won, a girl from another team hugged and congratulated me then whispered in my ear, “You’ll look good in a white satin.” The tears flew freely then. I was overwhelmed with joy and love and happiness. I couldn’t wait to get that white satin.
It’s not that it is white satin (though the material is pretty nice). It’s what the white satin represents that makes it so special. It represents hard work, dedication, and resilience. It represents the overcoming of adversities like teammates quitting, injuries, and drama. It represents the earning of a title so prestigious that most people only dream of it.
As I ponder on my first two years of high school cheerleading and my most recent accomplishment, I realize how truly blessed I am.
My heart overflows with love for my teammates, coaches, family, and community. I will forever cherish these memories with people I will always remember.
I’ve been asked by a few people how it feels to be national champion. It feels like a dream come true. It feels like all my heart’s deepest desires have been fulfilled. I am humbled to the core by the fact I can now say that I am a national champion.