North High School Cheer Team Qualifies for National Competition

By Talia Traskos-Hart

After a season of practicing tumbling skills and adapting to a new co-ed format, the North High School cheer team has, for the first time in its history, qualified for the UCA National High School Cheerleading Championship in Orlando, Florida.

Alyssa Page, the program director and head coach for North cheer, noted that the competition, broadcast on ESPN, will be a chance for the team’s student-athletes to highlight the immense growth in their skills since the season began.

“As coaches it’s very exciting every year to be able to enhance our goals and build upon the skills we had for the previous year,” Page said. “And for the athletes … they’re super excited and very proud of themselves because they can see the progress they’ve made season after season.”

The Denver North High School’s cheer team is looking to raise funds to send them to the UCA National High School Cheerleading Championship that takes place Feb. 10-12 in Orlando, Florida. Photo courtesy of Alyssa Page

Page has been coaching for North for three years with her co-coach Ciara McCabe. She competed for more than 10 years growing up and in college at the University of Denver. Page came into her role during the COVID-19 pandemic, which she said created challenges in building interpersonal connections on the team.

“I think our first year was difficult in trying to maintain camaraderie and a team environment even though the majority of our season was virtual,” she said. “Since then, we have been trying to learn more about how to coach to promote both skills and a team environment and to make sure our student-athletes are the best people they can be, whether in practice or outside in the community.”

Since returning to in-person practices, Page has facilitated a shift to a co-ed team environment. While she noted some difficulties in adapting to the differences in scoring and skills in co-ed competition, the challenges have allowed for more collaboration and growth among the athletes.

Page also reflected on the consistent success she and McCabe have seen from athletic directors and administrators. Rebecca Caldwell, the head of marketing and communications for North High School and Skinner Middle School, noted her excitement at the co-ed shift and team success.

“We’re super excited about cheer–it’s been really growing and thriving over the past few years and it’s a great program,” Caldwell said. “We normally just compete at the state level so this is definitely a first.”

Page said that the team hadn’t expected to qualify, so she and McCabe held a celebration to announce their making the cut.

North High cheer coaches Ciara McCabe, left, and Alyssa Page hold the trophy the Vikings won at the 2022 Denver Public Schools spring competition for co-ed traditional category. Photo courtesy of Alyssa Page

“Everyone was pretty shocked and surprised,” she said. “Previously, maybe they didn’t think this was a possibility, so now I think the students are super excited to go. I also think it helps put our team on the map and helps build a name for Denver North and our abilities.”

The team began fundraising over the summer with the hope of qualifying for the national competition, holding car washes and fundraisers with local restaurants. Now, the team is trying to raise the remaining funds to cover the $2,200 per athlete or $30,000 total cost of the trip.

“We could always use more help with our fundraising in trying to help offset and alleviate costs for a lot of our families, especially because nationals is quite expensive,” Page said.

The team competed in the state competition on Dec. 9. The UCA National High School Cheerleading Championship takes place Feb. 10 to 12.



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