Christopher Lang, Correspondent, @topherlang2 | Apr 3, 2018 | MonroeNow
What should have been a routine trip to compete in the 2018 AmeriCheer InterNational Cheerleading Championship at Disney World’s ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex turned out to be anything but that for the Monroe High School cheer team.
The 27-member team had to hop on a bus from New Jersey to Florida for 19 hours before ultimately capturing the national title for the Large Varsity All Music Advanced Competition on March-24-25.
“We were all nervous,” said cheer team member Brianna Gorhan, a high school senior, about the national title. “The seniors were able to make sure everyone was prepared and not focused on the other teams competing and make sure we put in our best work.”
This is their second national title in three years.
The cheer team was scheduled to leave from the airport at 3 a.m. on March 22. But Mother Nature had a different plan. The spring snowstorm that blanketed much of the region that Wednesday night into Thursday morning resulted in many trips being cancelled – including theirs.
“It was definitely discouraging that the flight was cancelled,” said Gorhan. “We were all upset because we didn’t know if we were going to be able to compete.”
Third-year coach Erica Brown said the parents, coaches and the travel agency quickly tried to find an alternate transportation option after learning at 11 p.m. on March 21 their flight was nixed. Amtrak would have been good, Brown noted, but the trains were booked.
The timing was “terrible,” she said, because it just wasn’t the snowstorm that made finding travel to Florida difficult, but it was also spring break for many places.
“It was spring break, a snowstorm and we had 27 people to get to Florida at the last minute,” Brown said.
After finding a bus transportation company willing to make the trip to Florida as fast as possible, the Falcons got on board and headed south. “The girls knew it was the only way to get there,” Brown said.
“We hardly stopped,” Brown recalled. “They had relay drivers to get us there in time.”
Once there, Brown said the girls were not fazed by the ordeal.
“It was definitely a mind over matter belief,” she said. “I actually think [the trip] made them perform better.”
Said Gorhan: “It was trying … but it was worth it, we knew it was worth it and we kind of just had to suck it up and compete.”
The win in Florida caps off a perfect 2017-18 season for the Monroe cheerleading team that also won first place in states this year in their performance division. “I have never seen such a confident group,” Brown said.
“We didn’t expect to win the title,” Gorhan said. “We were undefeated this season and I feel like we just had a great bond.”
For those wondering, the cheer team and staff were able to fly back home – with their newly acquired national trophy.