“Feel the breeze,” resonated throughout Oviedo’s Hagerty High School gymnasium on Saturday, Jan. 27 as Seabreeze took to the mat during the FHSAA Region 2 competitive cheerleading tournament.
The Sandcrabs cheer team is off to the State Championship Class 1A semifinals on Saturday, Feb. 3 in Lakeland after placing second to New Smyrna Beach (64.50) in the small coed division with a 63.50. The Barracudas will compete in the Class 2A finals on Friday, Feb. 2.
“I’m really proud of them for fighting through everything they’ve fought through this season,” Seabreeze head cheerleading coach Megan Lambert said. “I know they’re going to come out at states and fight through semifinals to make it to finals.”
She said the team has been battling illness and injuries, but Seabreeze remains the top scoring team in Region 2, Class 1A.
I love my teammates—I think we are a great team. We are going to put this in the past and move on. Sometimes the difference is between whether you can give 100 or that 101%. This is something we can reflect on now and say, ‘this wasn’t our best performance but the next one (state championships), we are going to give our all. We are going to give it that 101%’. - Lyla Roberson, Seabreeze competitive cheerleading team captain
“Nothing this season has been easy for us so we are used to the fight,” Lambert said. “We’re a young team so we have to work on the little things. I think they need more confidence in themselves and know that they can hit the routine with a smile on their faces. We’re going to come back and fight stronger and harder at states.”
Team captain Lyla Roberson said leading up to regionals, they had to switch their main flyer due to a recent surgery that required bed rest. For the first time, they had to change their routine. As soon as she returned, one of their back spots suffered a shoulder injury and could not perform. It was necessary to alter the routine again. They had three days to practice the new version before regionals.
Roberson said their skill level is higher than the Barracudas but it all comes down to execution. At regionals, their pyramid did not come together which resulted in a missed flipping skill. According to the Florida High School Athletic Association website, any squad in violation of the general rules will be assessed a two-point deduction for each violation with specific safety regulations assessing five points for each violation.
“I’m pretty proud of what we did with what we had,” she said. “I definitely feel like we could have done better. It is what it is. We can’t do anything about changing the place that we came in.”
Mainland placed 14th in the small non-tumbling division. Their high-flying stunts drew exclamations from the crowd. Judges deducted six points in reference to how they caught the flyer which hindered their ability to advance to the state championship rounds.
“This year was a successful year,” Mainland head cheerleading coach Jenece Giddens said. “Even though we didn't advance to states, my girls fell back in love with cheer. Heck, so did I. Competition season was another learning experience for the girls. We took a lot from what each judge had to say and we will use it and come back stronger than ever.”
Roberson said the best thing she can do heading into states is continue to support her teammates with praise and encouragement.
“I love my teammates—I think we are a great team,” she said. “We are going to put this in the past and move on. Sometimes the difference is between whether you can give 100 or that 101%. This is something we can reflect on now and say, ‘this wasn’t our best performance but the next one (state championships), we are going to give our all. We are going to give it that 101%’.”