Sep 24, 2011 10:18 PM by Jen Hollenbach (Great Falls)

University of Great Falls cheerleaders headed to Nationals

After only three weeks of formally working together as a team, the University of Great Falls Cheerleaders are already reaching new heights, receiving an invitation to a national competition in Florida.

Peyton Milligan is one of only two returning cheerleaders at UGF this year; the rest of the team is brand-new.

She noted, "We literally came together like we've been cheering together our whole lives...I mean it was really just a team push."

Newcomer Christian Galicia said, "It was great because for one thing I've only been cheering for like six months so to come in and to have a team that is so bonded in such little time is great...it was perfect, actually."

And that bonding and teamwork is already yielding results - after just one week of practice and two days at camp, the team qualified for nationals.

Becky Acra, the team coach, said, "My first reaction is I'm really proud of them. I really didn't know what to expect with so many varying talent levels, so many new faces, kids being away from home for the first time... so I was pleasantly surprised to say the least. And my second reaction is we have a lot of work to do."

Peyton says the best part about it is being able to prove themselves to the school and the community, noting, "We can do something amazing and we are more than just the ones that stand on your sidelines that clap and cheer...it was just really awesome to prove that to everyone and ourselves."

The team will be heading to Nationals in April; in the mean time, they'll be working hard for games and competitions under the Big Sky.

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