GREEN Perfect Balance Athletics gym in Green had one of its All-Star Elite cheerleading teams compete and win top honors at the 2019 Varsity All-Star National Small Program Association Division 2 (D2) Summit Championships in Orlando, Fla.
The Black Ice team is part of the Blue Storm program at the Perfect Balance gym and they were awarded the National Championship at the D2 in late May.
The event is held each year at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Walt Disney World and is considered the pinnacle of the end-of-season event for small programs all over the country. Gyms that compete in the D2 train 125 or less athletes annually.
Blue Storm Program Director Chelsea Golden said she works with three other coaches, Taylor Massey, Laura Noble and Michelle McAleese. The four worked with two-time USASF Coach of the Year and The Cheerleading Worlds Champion Chris Treherne, from ACE of Birmingham, to create exciting and captivating routines that maximize the athlete’s abilities and entertain judges and audiences.
“Last year 47 out of 50 states had teams competing at the D2 Summit, with over 1,000 teams competing at different levels,” Golden said. “Black Ice was the top team out of 45 teams competing in our division. We are the first team in the area to win National Champions at the D2. The team went undefeated this year and got first place in every competition which is also a big accomplishment.”
This year’s team members were ages 10 to 18 years old and included: Martianna Carpenter: 16 (Green); Hailey Chenevey: 11; Taylor Churn: 17 (Green); Jenna Eckman: 14; Rachael Fogg: 16; Mya Hanlon: 12 (Lake); Audrey Hartman: 18; McKenna Henry: 13 (Green); Morganne Hopper: 16; Charlotte Knauf: 14 (Jackson); Gabrielle Knauf: 16 (Jackson); Elle Kouris: 14 (Jackson); Ian Lattea: 17; Acadia LeVitre: 16; Ashley Martinez: 17; Lauren Merrick: 17 (Green); Rachel Merrick: 17 (Green); Sarah Nist: 18 (Manchester); Mickenzie Rink: 17; Delaney Swonger: 16 and Nate Walker: 18.
“The team’s skill level and their techniques and precision are what made the difference this year. This team has been the most elite team we’ve had in the Blue Storm program. They worked well together and knew how to come together and turn it on when needed,” Golden said. “Members were passionate about what they were doing, and their athleticism helped. Their entertainment skill level and the difficulty in their routines all helped the team achieve the win. Nobody thinks they will win at the Summit so we had a lot of emotions when we won. Having an undefeated season is big but winning at the Summit was the cherry on top.”
Blue Storm Athletics is located at 30 Forest Mill Lane. The BSA program has teams and classes available for children ages 3-18 and offers competitive cheerleading for those who wish to compete locally, or nationally. Their travel teams are well-known in the area, and have achieved much success at the national level. Over the past 18 years, teams have won many national championships in Missouri, Florida, Tennessee, Maryland, Indiana, New York, Michigan and Ohio. Since 2014, teams have received a bid to compete in The Summit, a definitive all levels national championship and more recently bids to the D2 Small Program Summit in 2016, 2017, 2018, and 2019. The exposure and talent Blue Storm Athletics has provided to athletes have led some to earn cheerleading scholarships to compete at the collegiate level.