Desoto Central cheerleaders

Members of the DeSoto Central High School cheerleaders, along with coach Joseph Arkansas and sponsor/coach Marie Harlow, celebrate a World Game Day championship won last weekend in Orlando, Fla. The team also won the Universal Cheerleading Association (UCA) National Super Varsity Game Day competition that same weekend.

When it comes to cheerleading, DeSoto County is where the best in the country reside. In fact, you can add it’s where the best in the world are located.

DeSoto Central High School’s 27-member cheerleading team, which won the Universal Cheerleading Association’s (UCA) Super Varsity Game Day national championship last February, has repeated that accomplishment in last weekend’s competition in Orlando, Fla.

However, the girls who lead the cheers for the Jaguars football team and other sports during the athletic season have now added a World championship to their trophy case. They won the World Game Day title in another competition during the same weekend.

“We turned around and competed that same routine for Game Day into the World event, where we competed against all of the winners of Game Day and people from other countries,” Harlow said.

The back-to-back national titles are the first occurrence of that type for any cheerleading squad in the country, according to Harlow, who leads the team with coach Joseph Arkansas. The team earlier won state and regional competitions ahead of last weekend’s performances in Florida.

The results were actually not unexpected, Harlow said.

“We came in as the favorite to win,” Harlow explained. “With winning last year, being number one in the season and since our scores have been so high because our material is so good, we expected it.”

Harlow said judges watch the cheerleaders do different routines they use during the course of a game, such as a sideline cheer, something they would do with a pep band song and other similar routines, including the school fight song.

“Game Day is all about what you do for your school where you cheer at school events and you’re putting that into a competition on the mat,” Harlow said. “You have to have correct motion placement, doing the exact same synchronized motion in order. You have correct technique, floor placement, presentation and energy because you have to be doing the same thing at the same time with a lot of energy.”

Harlow added she was very proud of her team for their hard work and their exceptional performances.

“The girls practice their hearts out and put it all out there with the end results being a national champion back-to-back again to where they now have a national jacket, a world jacket and world medals,” Harlow pointed out. “Being the top-ranked school for Game Day, their scores also were higher than any other school that they placed with this season. They had the highest scores over everyone.”

Bob Bakken is Staff Writer for the DeSoto Times-Tribune.

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