Heading into the 2001 Pop Warner regional cheerleading competition in Tucson last weekend, the Mid-Valley Sun Devils Pop Warner 9-11-year-old pee wee cheer squad didn't have high expectations.
To head coach Denise Harrison, just being at the regional was good enough.
It's not that Harrison didn't have high hopes. It's just that she figured a team from the Imperial Valley wouldn't get the opportunity to compete in the national championships in Orlando, Fla.
But when her squad was announced as the second-place finisher in the pee wee division, all that changed.
"When they announced that we took second place and that we were going to Orlando, my jaw just dropped. I really couldn't believe it," said Harrison. "I thought that maybe our team would take third place but wouldn't get to go to nationals. So I couldn't believe it when they announced that we got second."
"I think what it was, was that our girls were just having fun out there. I heard from a few people who said that our girls looked like they were having more fun than anyone else out there," said Harrison.