Gympie cheerleader making waves at American champs
CHEERLEADING: It might not have been the result Gympie cheerleader Eliza Parker was dreaming of, but she still made the most of a once in a lifetime opportunity at last week's The Summit cheer championships in the USA.
The 20-year-old began 14 weeks of intense training with her teammates from the Gold Coast-based Inspire Athletics Cheer Team Reign in preparation for the championships in January, and the gruelling commitment paid off in the best possible way.
Team Reign, while competing in the preliminary finals, hit the coveted Zero, meaning they received no deductions from the judges through their entire routine.
"To hit Zero in cheerleading is something that doesn't happen often, as it's very hard to achieve," Parker's mum Sharon said this week.
Even with the Zero, Team Reign couldn't pip stiff competition to advance through to The Summit finals.
"Their training prior to competing was difficult, one girl had her arm in a sling prior to and after competing and other injuries had occurred ... so they were so shocked and elated when they hit Zero in their routine," Sharon said.
"They are very proud of how they pulled together and pulled off a flawless routine as the team has never hit Zero before.
"They did want to make finals, but they only just missed out - but just to compete and to actually achieve a Zero was an amazing feat and they were very proud of what they had achieved."
Parker said pre-competition, Team Reign was the "only Australian team to get the open four bid in Australia", referencing one of the six "levels" within the competition, and mentioned a Zero routine was among her highest hopes for the tournament.
Her mother said Parker's team had finished 12th out of 25 and missed the finals by a miserly three points.
"They did a routine outside the norm in that they did some interpretive storytelling ... they had a Wizard of Oz theme," she said.
"They were really popular with the audience, audience members and other teams were going up to them for pictures after they did their routine."