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Sun Devils headed to nationals

November 28, 2001|By ERIC GALVAN, Sports Writer

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.

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The Sun Devils will compete in the national competition at Disney's Wide World of Sports Complex in Orlando beginning Dec. 5.

Eleven-year-old cheerleader Sonjia Jaime-Williams said when the announcement of winners was made she started crying tears of joy.

"I just started hugging all my friends and was crying because I was so happy," said Jaime-Williams. "I really didn't think we'd do that well because it was such a big competition. But we really did a lot better than what I thought we'd do. I'm still excited about the whole thing."

Added first-year cheerleader Geneva Carter: "I think we'll do a pretty good job at nationals. I just can't wait to get there. For me, this is a dream come true."

For Carter and her teammates to realize this dream, they need to raise $20,000 to pay for the trip. Harrison said the cost is about $600 per person and she would like the community's support in raising money for the Sun Devils.

"No matter what happens we're already winners. For such a small town to be represented at a national event like this is just great," said Harrison. "But we'd really like local support to help us out with this because we are representing the entire Valley."

Those wanting to help the Sun Devils should call 337-1065 or 355-0954.

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