Coyote cheer team pose outside of the ESPN sign.
Coyote cheer team pose outside of the ESPN sign.
Shannon Muller

The Coyotes Have Taken on Disney

For the first time in Four Corners Upper School history, the cheerleaders were given the opportunity to compete in the UCA Nationals.

The UCA (Universal Cheerleaders Association) has hosted the championship competition for cheerleaders worldwide, at the Walt Disney World Resort, for 50 years now. This year the Coyotes received a bid to the UCA National Championship.

“It was a surreal feeling because being the first team in this school to make it to nationals was an amazing feeling let alone, but it’s also my first year at the school, making it even more special,” senior Chelsea Garcia said.

To compete in nationals, the Coyotes had to first compete in the UCA Regional qualifying competition where they received a bid to take them to nationals.

“At UCA regionals we found out that we were making it to nationals because we were offered a bid and that was really exciting,” sophomore Ava Maffei said.

While some were excited to be going to nationals, others like freshman Jordyn Cooper were feeling the butterflies in their stomach.

“I honestly was just scared when the competition announced that we were going to nationals on the speakers,” Cooper stated.

The Coyotes spent months preparing and finalizing the routine that they would be bringing to nationals, making sure it was perfect.

“We had been working on the routine for about five to six months. It changed a lot over time. We were constantly keeping things and switching things,” Garcia said.

The Coyote cheer team pose’s after getting done with practice. (Shannon Muller )

Head Coach Shannon Muller choreographed the routine they performed with the team’s best interest in mind, with the goal of taking the routine far into the competition season.

“In cheerleading we have a score sheet that breaks down what each portion of the routine is worth. With that we take our teams skill level and put a routine together to maximize the score we can receive. There are always changes being made from competition to competition to help increase our score,” Muller said.

For some of the girls on the team, such as freshman Marcella Perez-Ortiz, the nerves took over before going out on the mat and performing the routine.

“I was really nervous. I almost threw up right before I went on, but I remembered to do it for my team because they were all so great and they were helping me and just telling me to breathe,” Perez-Ortiz stated.

While some of the girls on the team shared the nerves Perez-Ortiz had, others, like junior Hannah Murphy, were not nervous leading into the competition but were rattled when competition day came.

“Going into the competition I wasn’t that nervous. We had practiced a lot, and I really felt like we had it. At the competition though, I wouldn’t say I was nervous, but it was nerve-wracking. It was more like ‘we got this, we just have to put all we know onto the mat and compete how we know how to compete’,” Murphy stated.

Now that the Coyotes cheer team has proven they can make it to nationals, cheerleaders like Cooper feel that they need to be able to make it to the competition again.

“It’s kind of scary because I feel like next year, we’re going to have to be able to do that again, like that’s what’s expected now,” Cooper said.

This year the arena the competition took place in was separated into four sections by dividers, making it so four teams could all compete at the same time.

“I felt less nervous with the dividers because the team who’s going before you, you can’t watch them, and the team after can’t watch you. So, if any of the teams hit, we wouldn’t know. Plus, there weren’t as many peoplein the arena because they were split into four,” Murphy said.

Despite the advantages that were brought by separating the arena into four sections, the Coyotes faced a setback and could not hear the start of their routine.

“It was loud because you could hear the other routines going on, and at the beginning of the cheer we all messed up because we couldn’t hear her start the routine,” Garcia said.

Many of the Coyotes on the team, including Maffei, believed that being located in Florida, where the competition takes place gave the team a home-court advantage.

“I feel like it makes everyone on the team more comfortable, and every other team is flying in from planes and losing practice days and all we had to do was drive 30 minutes,” Maffei said.

While some might believe that already being in Florida gave the Coyote cheerleading team an advantage, some of the cheerleaders like Murphy have a different view.

“I don’t think it gives us any advantage because there is so much pressure on us already, and there are so many good teams around the whole country. So even if you’re coming from Florida or Texas, it’s still going to be really hard,” Murphy stated.

One of the many things the state of Florida is known for is the amusement parks, such as Walt Disney World. With the competition being held at the Walt Disney World resorts the Coyotes spent a couple of days enjoying the Disney theme parks.


was really fun. We went to Magic Kingdom on Friday, we competed Saturday, went to Hollywood Studios and park hopped to Epcot on Sunday and it was great cause we all just had fun with each other,” Murphy said.

Coyotes pose a picture while heading to the competition. (Shannon Muller )

A big factor in competing is team bonding. Many of the coyotes like Perez-Ortiz felt that while the weekend in Disney was helpful in team bonding, the team had been growing close throughout the entire season.

“I feel like all of us have made a connection and not just this weekend but through the whole season. We have all become really close because you have to be really close for cheer and we have all just formed a really good connection,” Perez-Ortiz stated.

During the sendoff to nationals, Muller surprised her cheer team with several fun and useful goodies to congratulate them on their journey to nationals.

“One of the things they always look forward to is the special items they get for attending such a large competition. This year we did some fun items, like the sweatshirts and t-shirts and then some practical items as well such as the belt bags and portable chargers,”

When receiving the goodies Coyote cheerleaders such as Garcia felt very grateful and spoiled.

“Oh, I felt so spoiled, it was amazing. We got things like a cheer throw blanket, little Croc jibits, keychains, and a cute little pink bag. I’m so sad that the season is over and that I can’t wear some of the amazing things that I got,” Garcia said.

While the day of the competition was special for everyone on the team, it was incredibly special for cheerleader Perez-Ortiz as it was her 15th birthday.

“The highlight of the trip was definitely it being my birthday – the day we competed at nationals. I was scared because I thought if we did horrible my birthday was going to be ruined, but I had everyone saying happy birthday to me and they decorated the hotel room, so it was really fun,” Perez-Ortiz stated.

Though the Coyotes made it to nationals, the team did not advance in the competition and the team did not get the opportunity to move onto the semi-finals.

“Skill level in other states is definitely higher, and although we only dropped one stunt and other teams dropped more, the competition is really tight. Our routine was amazing, but it’s a tough competition and you need a high difficulty level,” Garcia said.

Even not making it all the way to semi-finals, Muller is proud of her team and cannot wait to see what they can accomplish next year.

“This team has worked so hard throughout the entire season. They did incredible, it might not have been the outcome we wanted, but we had one goal this year to make it to nationals and they accomplished that. I couldn’t be more proud of them or the group of seniors who helped lead them here,” Muller stated.        ‘


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Kylie Fuller
Kylie Fuller, Section Editor
Kylie Fuller is a sophomore and this is her second year on staff with the Coyote Chronicle. Kylie grew up in Oregon and moved to Florida 3 years ago. In her free time Kylie loves to read and write. Her favorite book at the moment is The Inheritance Games by Jennifer Lynn Barnes.

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