Tallahassee Cheerleaders Reach "The Summit" Of Their Sport This Weekend

Tallahassee Cheerleaders Reach "The Summit" Of Their Sport This Weekend
Posted at 12:03 AM, Apr 29, 2016
and last updated 2016-05-02 20:09:09-04

Edit: Out of the three Cheer Nation teams that competed in The Summit, one team made it out of the Wildcard round on Friday. Platinum won their division on Friday to advance straight to Sunday's Finals, which they won by nearly a point to take first place overall in their Division, Senior 3 Small Coed.


TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) - For competitive cheerleaders, there is no greater honor than that of being invited to The Summit, an invite only competition reserved for the best of the best. Think of it as the Olympics of competitive cheer, and Tallahassee's Cheer Nation Athletics doesn't have one, but three teams making the trip.

"When we first bought the gym three years ago, the girls were like, what's your main thing to change?" remembered owner Dana Brown. "We were like, we want you guys to think of cheerleading as a true athletic sport, and not just rah-rah, jump around, toss people around."

There's nothing rah-rah about these athletes. Former Florida State cheerleaders Brown and Dustin Baker started Cheer Nation Athletics three years ago, and over two-hundred cheerleaders later, three teams, Black Ice, Obsession, and Platinum, are Summit bound.

"I think I'm more nervous then the kids are," said Baker. I've talked to my dad, he's called several times of stuff that's going on at home at the house, and I'm like, I don't have time, like it's stressful, but it's like a good stress."

"We started crying," remembered Madison Barfield, who competes with the Platinum squad. "Our first competition this season, and we got a bid to Summit! It's insane."

Insane enough to spend long hours in a non-air conditioned gym, sweating it out, perfecting their craft, so it's ring ready.

"You could run on the treadmill for thirty minutes, you can do the elliptical, you can train, train, train, but until you run a routine and tumble and dance and hold someone above your head and jump, it's exhausting," said Baker.

"Everytime I see that uniform or that mat it just reminds me of the hard times and the work and the effort," said Brown. "For us, it's about these kids knowing if you set a goal you can reach it, and they definitely did this year."

The Summit begins Friday in Orlando, with teams from Canada, Germany, Japan and 45 different states competing. All three Cheer Nation teams have Wildcard bids, so they must place first or second in their division on Friday to advance.