Dunbar Cheerleaders are World Champions

Dunbar’s Cheerleaders competed at the National High School Cheerleading Championship in Orlando, Florida, in early February.

On Feb. 8, the Dunbar Varsity and JV cheerleaders arrived in Orlando’s Disney World for the national competition. They returned on Feb. 14 with their ninth national title, winning second in the Girls’ Large Varsity national division and first in the Girls’ Large Varsity world division. They were also awarded the highest scoring team. This was the second world champion title for the Bulldogs.

Dunbar’s Cheerleaders placed first in the World School Cheer Championship Large Varsity category. They placed second in Division I Large Varsity at Nationals behind Hunterdon Central High School of New Jersey.

“Winning is something that makes you even more proud to be an athlete. It gives you an opportunity to show the world that you are the best. Even though we did not win nationals, we still gave everything we had,” said senior co-captain Nikaya Mayberry.

The girls had been practicing all year in hopes to achieve their goals of winning it all this year.

“[The practices] were really fun because it was the last few practices with all the girls together and everyone was trying their hardest,” said sophomore Sophia Fister-Mesch.

“This kids worked and improved every day. They probably came further than any team I have ever had,” said coach Mrs. Donna G. Martin.

While the JV team did not make it past the preliminary round, they continued to cheer on their fellow Varsity cheerleaders.

“We had our JV team along with other Kentucky teams, coaches, parents, and alumni that came to support us. It really helps when you look past the lights to see a familiar face cheering along with you,” said senior co-captain Maddie Carter.

This year there will be four seniors who will be graduating the team: Maddie Carter, Nikaya Mayberry, Mary Vezina, and Abby Rawls.

“Something that I learned from cheering at Dunbar is to push yourself and do not give yourself any room to have an excuse. I want the younger girls to enjoy the time while they have it because it just goes by so fast. Hard work really does pay off so keep it up,” said Mayberry.

When asked what she looked forward to for next year junior Julia Beard said, “I am excited to have a fresh start and I hope we will just get better and finish what we started.”

“I am starting [next year] with such a great team. They have come so far and the four seniors left us in great shape for next year. I want my girls to know how proud I am to be their coach and this was one of the best years ever,” said Mrs. Martin.

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  • The end pyramid flyers (from left to right: Natalie Rowe, Marissa Rajcan, Julia Beard, Maddie Wiley) celebrate after hitting a solid routine in the preliminary competition round.

  • Dunbar Cheerleaders at the UCA competition.

  • The Varsity cheer team poses for a photo with the trophies that they received for winning Large Varsity World Championship and winning overall competition.

  • After winning the Large Varsity World Championship, the girls received white satin “2017 World Champion” jackets.

  • Sophomore varsity flyer Sophia Fister-Mesch raises the “P” in “PLD” during the cheer portion of the routine.

  • Sophomore Kaitlyn Doza and Eighth grader Emily Szydlik laugh during a varsity evening practice before the final competition on Sunday.

  • Sophomore flyer Maddie Wiley holds a heel stretch during an evening varsity practice.

  • The Cheerleaders were recognized at halftime for their win at Nationals and World competitions.

  • The Cheerleaders were recognized at halftime for their win at Nationals and World competitions.

  • Senior Mary Vezina after the winners are announced.

  • Cheer Coach Donna Martin giving the girls a pep talk before showtime.

  • The Dunbar Cheerleaders performing their routine.