Western Pa. cheer, dance teams stand out in world event
Five Western Pennsylvania teams — including three from the same gym — were among top finishers at The 2014 Cheerleading and Dance Worlds recently in Orlando.
Pittsburgh Poison Black Widows won a bronze medal in the Senior Hip Hop competition during the event from April 26 to 28. Two other teams from Pittsburgh Poison of Emsworth — Zoolander and Belladonna — placed fourth in the Senior Coed Hip Hop and Open Hip Hop divisions at the Worlds.
FCA Gems-Diamonds of Sarver, Butler County (eighth in Senior Medium All Girl Level 5), and HotCheer All Stars HOT 5 of Elizabeth (ninth in Senior Small All Girl Level 5) were cheerleading finalists.
More than 13,000 cheer and dance athletes from more than 30 nations competed, said Lynn Singer, spokeswoman for the U.S. All Star Federation, which served as host.
“We were absolutely thrilled with the way we did,” FCA Gems owner Flo Iman said. “It was a lot of hard work.”
Practice also paid off for HotCheer All Stars HOT 5, which spent the year polishing its two-and-a-half-minute routine, director Cora King said.
“We did the same routine for nine months,” said HOT 5 cheerleader Alexandra Corella, 18, of Belle Vernon. “We were making sure we knew what we had to do in case we had to save a stunt.”
Pittsburgh Poison owner and head coach Tracy Zangaro Indof said she already is thinking about routines for next year.
Madison Richey, 15, of Butler and Kristin Ingersoll, 18, of Murrysville, both of FCA Gems-Diamonds, said they enjoyed watching international cheerleading squads compete.
“You learn a lot by observing,” Ingersoll said.
Jared Hartmann, 16, of West View and Pittsburgh Poison admired the sportsmanship exhibited by dancers in the competition.
“It was very nice, how they would clap for each other,” he said.
HOT 5 cheerleader Shelby Harris, 13, of McKeesport said she was nervous, but excited, about competing at the Worlds for the first time.
FCA Gems-Onyx (International Open All Girl Level 5 cheerleading) and Pittsburgh Poison Alive (International Junior Dance) competed in qualifying rounds to determine American representatives in the finals, Singer said.
Karen Kadilak is a freelance writer.