By Christina Calloway
PNT senior writer
Portales High School cheerleaders say they live for the thrill of competing and are working toward representing Portales in the largest national high school competition.
After a successful regional competition in Albuquerque last month, the PHS cheer team was invited to compete in The National High School Cheerleading Championship at the Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Fla., according to Coach Amy Lovett.
The televised event, set for February, is a benchmark the team has been working toward, according to Lovett.
But skill alone won’t help the team get to Florida. Lovett said the team is tasked with raising $22,000 for travel and fees and the team has already reached its halfway mark.
“Their positive attitude and willingness to put the time in that it takes to be a good team got them this far,” Lovett said.
The small, varsity co-ed team will be selling donuts, T-shirts, decals for cars and businesses, and hosting a cheerleading clinic for children to raise money.
Here’s what a few of the cheerleaders have to say about the opportunity:
• Alec Shumpp, a sophomore, has been a gymnast for eight years. He recently moved to the area from Virginia, due to his parents’ service in the Air Force. He started school at Clovis but found that Portales was a better fit for him.
“There are not many gymnastics places near by so cheer is just a good way to keep my tumbling alive,” Shumpp said. “I fell in love with the sport.”
He looks forward to tanning if the team travels to Florida.
• Jaycey Morgan-Tivis of Portales is a senior who has plans to become a neo-natal nurse. She said her motherly nature makes her good at caring for babies.
Morgan-Tivis hopes to shatter any pre-conceived notions of small-town living if she gets to represent Portales in Florida.
“We’re not as close-minded as you think,” Morgan-Tivis said.
• Senior Alex Sherman of Florida said she’s been cheering for 13 years. Though not a native to the area, she feels the team and town embraced her and the closeness of the team is something she sees as a strength when competing.
“We’re more of a family, we’re together so much,” Sherman said. “No matter what, we’re always there for each other.”
Sherman feels she’s grown with cheerleading and has learned to be a better motivator and pep-talker.
• Jasmine Lucero of Portales, a senior, has never been to an out-of-state competition and is looking forward to making a lot of memories if she gets to go.
“I want to be on that stage, from Portales, knowing that we could amaze people from a small town,” Lucero said.
• Meghan Urevig moved to Portales from Seattle nearly four years ago. She planned to participate in dance but fell in love with cheerleading.
“I want to go to college for pharmaceutical sales,” Urevig said.
Urevig agrees that the team being tight-knit makes the team stronger and is excited to cheer one last year.