Local Cheer Coach Participates in NCA Championship
NCA, known as National Cheerleaders Association, is a huge cheerleading competition that is hosted in Dallas, Texas every year for many all star cheerleading teams. Varsity All Star produces this championship because it is a varsity spirit brand competition.
This was the first year all star cheerleaders were back in Dallas for this competition since the pandemic had hit. The event was held on February 25-27. Cheerleaders work extremely hard multiple times a week to prepare for competitions this big, especially this competition. All cheerleading gyms across America are eligible to attend this competition. Many cheerleaders, coaches, and family members were so excited to get back to this competition this year and cheer on their teams while they compete on the mat of NCA.
Stated by John Newby on Varsity Spirit, “The NCA All Star National Championship is one of the most prestigious and respected events in all star cheerleading, and it is an honor to be back in the city of Dallas after two years to showcase and celebrate the incredible hard work, commitment, and talent of so many young athletes.”
After the COVID-19 pandemic hit, all cheerleading competitions were extremely difficult to happen because of the thousands of people being in the same arena. In 2020 and in 2021, NCA was virtual which is completely different to what all star cheerleaders are used to. NCA being virtual was a big struggle for cheerleaders because its nothing compared to what they are used to. There is no crowd screaming, no enjoyment, not a lot of excitement, and not the overall experience of being at a competition as important and exciting as NCA. After two years of cheerleaders not being able to perform at NCA the hosts called this competition “The Return of NCA.”
"We are thrilled to return to the Arena, one of the most iconic backdrops in all star cheerleading, to magnify what these remarkable athletes are doing in gyms across America, and all around the world, live on stage. We are so thankful to the coaches and gym owners who continue to inspire athletes to raise the bar each year, and to the parents who dedicate their time, commitment and support so that their athletes can compete at this world-renowned event,” said a statement in Varsity Spirit.
An alumni high school cheerleader, all star cheerleader, and college cheerleader is now an all star cheerleading coach at Just Cheer All Stars in Fairfield, New Jersey. This alumni, Shannon Marie, was last at NCA in 2014. Shannon doesn’t think COVID-19 has changed NCA at all except it just made the competition more exciting. Shannon stated, “It’s always been a prestigious event but I think COVID-19 showed all of us how much cheer means to us all. After experiencing a mid season stop followed by a year of virtual competitions, everyone is so excited to be back in person that these big live events have become even more special/exciting. Although I haven’t attended post COVID-19, looking at all the social media surrounding the event has shown they are completely back to normal, which is great to see.”
One memory that Shannon will never forget from NCA is that the CheerAbilities teams are right in the middle of the day of the most prestigious arena. Even though, NCA is an all level event, they are notorious for having “The Arena” where all worlds level teams compete. This arena is able to fit 10,000 people and it is full to capacity. Shannon states, “So, when I was there I went to watch the large all girl division and I didn’t realize CheerAbilities was going as well. Ill never forget the way that crowd reacted to every single one of those teams. I'm literally tearing up thinking about it. Every spectator on their feet cheering like crazy, clapping for these Special Needs athletes, going wild at the end of the routine… it’s probably the most wholesome thing i've ever experienced in my entire life.”
Another alumni high school cheerleader, all star cheerleader, and college cheerleader is an all star cheerleading coach at Just Cheer All Stars in Fairfield, New Jersey. This alumni, Kristen Jones, actually won NCA and had the absolute best experience. Kristen explained her experience stating, “ Competing in the arena was such an adrenaline rush with the extremely bright lights and large crowd. I remember being on stage and feeling like I was in a dream. After hitting day one, we were in first place and knew we just needed to hit again the second day. Then after hitting again the second day even better than the first, we knew we could take home first. At awards, they sat top three in a circle and called us out one by one from third to first. Hearing our name get called for first place, and the crowd going crazy was an experience like none other. After celebrating, we were taken to the champions room where we git our jackets. Winning NCA will forever be one of my favorite memories as I knew all the hours of hard work and the long drives to practice were worth it.”
Overall, NCA is a competition that cheerleaders look forward to all season long and work hard to be the best they can be. As shown, alumni cheerleaders still look back today and reflect on their experience they had at this competition whether they were coaching there, performing on the mat, cheering friends or family on, and etc. Something extremely important that many people don't see when looking at big competitions like NCA, is the memories that are being made, that's one of the best parts about all star cheerleading.