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Coopersville Elite eyes national cheer title | News

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Coopersville Elite eyes national cheer title
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WYOMING, Mich. (WZZM) -- DeVos Place in Grand Rapids hosts 200 cheer teams from across the country this weekend for the Young Champions Cheer Nationals. One of the teams will be the Michigan state champions, the Coopersville Elite squad.

"This team is special because we put a lot of energy and focus into our work, and we really give it 100 percent -- and it's our attitude," said 15-year-old cheerleader Adriana Alcala.

These girls are ready. This is the fifth straight year they're heading to nationals, but they have never placed. This is their best team so far, coming off a state title, and they have their eyes set on conquering the national stage.

"The rush is totally different; there are so many people and the set up is crazy," said Kelsey Matzat. "It's awesome, and a lot more pressure."

Head coach Sierra Tank adds, "It is a little bit of a pressure here, because we are the home team and we want to go out big."

Wednesday night was their final touch-up practice, a chance to iron out the flaws in their routine, because the judges will knock you for any little mistake.

"We have teams coming in from all over the country, so you really have to focus on the routine; the littlest things need to be fixed, so there are some frustrating times but it all comes with rewarding times," said Tank.

Some may not see them as athletes, but these cheerleaders are working as hard as any football or basketball team out there, running their routine, over and over, fighting fatigue and the mental errors. They are athletes.

"It's definitely the flow of things and how they look pretty, but it's definitely a ton of work," said Alcala.

"I've had black eyes, broken bones -- it's crazy," added Matzat.

After Wednesday, the work is done. The gameplan is set, and it's up to the girls to perform in front of the hometown crowd this weekend.

"I think they are definitely ready; they have all the points they need to have in the routine. It's just a matter of them going out there and hitting it," said Tank.

Right after nationals, the team will be looking to next year. Try-outs are August 12 at 6 p.m. You can sign up for the try-outs by emailing coachsierrat@yahoo.com. You do not have to live in Coopersville to make the team.


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