---- — AUBURN — When parents registered their children for the new local cheerleading program, they had no idea that it would lead to Disney World.
“This was my daughter’s first time cheering,” Mark Connors said, “and I honestly did not know what to expect.”
Connors was surprised. The New Hampshire Thundercats has had an amazing first year, with all three teams consistently doing well in each of their competitions.
“My daughter has learned so much, gained enormous confidence and made some great new friends,” he said. “And to top it all off, their teams have won first place nine times and were invited to the National Championships—all in their inaugural season.”
At the New England Cheer and Dance Competition, held on Nov. 9 in Boston, both the Varsity team, Black Katz, and the Junior Varsity team, Purple Jaguars, won first place. This achievement earned them bids to the National High School Cheerleading Championship, the most prestigious cheerleading competition in the country.
“It’s amazing that we made it this far so fast,” said Melanie Marino, Purple Jaguars cheerleader, “We are so excited to perform at Disney and will make New Hampshire proud.”
The 2014 championship will be held Feb. 8–9 at the Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Fla., and be nationally televised on ESPN and ESPN2 to more than 100 million homes and 32 countries.
“We want to provide these two teams the opportunity to continue the season with this memorable experience,” said Jennifer Baird, organization president.
The group has coordinated several fundraisers to help fund the trip and is accepting donations at gofundme.com/Thundercats.
The New Hampshire Thundercats Cheerleading Organization is a nonprofit community group established to provide athletes in Southern New Hampshire with a competition-only recreational cheer program.
Children between the ages of 8 and 14 are taught the fundamentals of cheerleading, stunting and tumbling; the value of hard work, dedication, teamwork and good sportsmanship; while instilling confidence and a positive self image.
More information about the program can be found at ThundercatsCheer.org. Email the group directly at info@ThundercatsCheer.org or follow them at Facebook.com/ThundercatsCheer.