The chosen 10: FHS cheerleaders qualify for the UCA All American team


provided by Head Coach DJ Christian

FHS UCA All-American Team Qualifiers: (top row; left to right) Seniors Nicole Ball, Eliza Haight and Allyson Good. (middle row; left to right) Junior Ellie Bunch, Freshmen Ashley Marin-Barrera, Emmelea Czolba and Junior Izzy Kendrick. (last row; left to right) Sophomore Zara Atcheson, Senior Jada Legget and Sophomore Regan Gastley.

“I made the team!” Texts, facetime calls and excited shouts filled the homes of 10 FHS cheerleaders who received the congratulatory email inviting them to participate in this year’s Universal Cheerleaders Association (UCA) All American Team.
In the past, FHS cheerleaders attended the UCA All American Summer Camp to audition for a spot on the team. This year, due to COVID-19, the audition was virtual. Competitors had to perform a dance, adding in other cheer elements if wanted, to submit online by September 15.
“Audition [was] a little harder without getting much feedback prior to submission and being able to really show your skills and personality through a video opposed to in-person can be challenging, but our girls were up for the challenge!” said Head Coach D.J. Christian.
The UCA All American team consists of all-level high school cheerleaders from all over the U.S. who show showmanship, poise, technique or crowd leading skills. “I was so excited with each and every athlete that was selected!..I’m not surprised that any of them were selected, but I am truly very proud,” said Christian.
Seniors Allyson Good, Eliza Haight, both second year All American team participants, Jada Leggett and Nicole Ball; juniors Izzy Kendrick and Ellie Bunch; sophomores Regan Gastley, second year All American team participant, and Zara Atcheson; and freshmen Ashley Marin-Barrera and Emmalea Czolba were chosen. LHS has five cheerleaders and KRHS has six cheerleaders participating.
“This opportunity means a lot to me because I’ve never had any cheer experience before, but I put my hard work and effort into my tryout video!..I’m proud to be one of the girls that were selected to be an All American from FHS!” said Marin-Barrera.
Those on the team get unique performance opportunities at special events. This year, there are three events in Florida for the girls. They will also receive a UCA All American patch, certificate and medal. “It is a great honor in the world of cheer,” said Christian.
“To me being an All American cheerleader means representing your school and cheer squad. I didn’t set any expectations for myself other than to do my best and go for it!” said Gastley. Many of the girls wanted to prove themself by tackling this new challenge. They all plan to put this achievement on their college applications.
“I was so excited when I heard the news of how many other girls on the team made All American, and I’m so proud of the effort they’re all putting forward during this difficult time,” said Bunch. Christian said once COVID-19 restrictions are lifted, they hope to celebrate the girls’ accomplishments further.
“Some of the girls selected were never the most outgoing or the loudest, but they found a passion, mastered their skills, and you just can’t ignore it when you see them perform…They perform intense, fast-paced dangerous routines on the mat during competition season,” said Christain. She hopes to exemplify the importance of cheerleading and show that hard work pays off. “A goal of mine, especially since this is my senior year, is to have a huge achievement. Which, becoming a UCA All American cheerleader is one,” said Ball.