Team combines unity, titles

Apr. 20, 2014 @ 05:02 AM

For a cheer team to make it to THE ONE Cheer and Dance Championships means it’s already had an outstanding season.

Cheer Extreme Sanford’s Vengeance earned its place in New Orleans, then won the Senior Level 3 Championship there last weekend.

Vengeance won the south championship, bringing home banners, trophies and jackets. It also won the opportunity to compete head to head, virtually, on May 3 versus THE ONE’s north champion for the Senior Level 3’s overall championship and championship rings.

Vengeance won its berth to New Orleans by winning the grand championship at the Champion Cheer and Dance competition in Raleigh in December. Every team in New Orleans was already a champ as only squads with first-place finishes were invited to THE ONE.

Team Vengeance set out on a 16-hour bus trip Friday morning and competed for two days.

The team’s coaches credit the leadership by the athletes and the team being “United as one” for Vengeance’s success and tight bond as a group.

Head coach Brandon Hale says Vengeance’s routine is not a traditional one.

“We have taken our story,” he said, “and have beautifully assembled a tribute to diversity. This team shows true love and desire for the sport of all-star cheerleading.”

“United as one” has become the team’s theme for the season - which keeps going one more victory at a time. The sign language symbol for “I love you” has become the sign for the team.

Team Vengeance has been united, perhaps becoming more united, through challenges during the season. The team’s overcome injuries, forcing others to fill in at times.

A number of the Cheer Extreme Sanford kids have parents currently in the military, some serving overseas.

“These kids are looking out into the crowds and seeing other moms and dads knowing their parents are out of the country,” Hale said.

Hale said this team has renewed his own love for the sport. Aside from the trophies, which always help, the team inspires the younger level athletes within Cheer Extreme Sanford. The routine’s diversity and inspirational qualities have grown from the team itself.

Team Vengeance includes a flyer with one arm, a flyer with a clubbed foot, a back spot who has visual and auditory impairments and a coach who wears two hearing aids.

“During the season,” Hale said, “there were many coaches, owners, judges, that came up to our coaches and owners with tears in their eyes over the beautifully displayed message.”