Lady Cats placed fifth in Nationals


Pitt-Johnstown cheerleaders perform in a national competition at Daytona, Florida, last week.

Emily Moore, Copy Editor

They were seventh in the nation in 2017, and now, this year the Pitt-Johnstown cheer team is ranked fifth.

During the first week of April, the Lady Cats prepared, departed and competed at the National Cheer Association and National Dance Association’s Collegiate Cheer and Dance Championship in Daytona, Florida.

All teams that registered to compete performed April 5 and received scores that would be high enough to put them above half of their division.

The Lady Cats were one of 14 teams in their divison, and seven got scores high enough that put them straight through to the final competition, including the Lady Cats.

The Lady Cats placed fifth out of the seven in the finals.

According to senior Kayleigh Kriner, focusing on details in their routine helped them win.

“Our biggest thing we focused on was hitting all of our stunts, smiling, being sharp and just having fun,” Kriner said.

Even though there were obstacles during the trip, the Lady Cats managed to put those aside.

“We did go to Daytona with people having a couple injuries.

“We knew that, once we got down there, we needed to give it our all and push through it for the team,” Kriner said.

“We tweaked a few things that needed to be done to have confidence in Florida.”

The Lady Cats stepped onto the mat and performed their routine that they had worked on for so long.

According to Kriner, everyone gave that routine their all.

“Being a senior and having it be my last time out on the mat, right after our routine, I knew that everyone gave it their all and whatever happened, I was so happy to be a part of this team.

“We practiced so much over the season and have come so far that I was so impressed with what we have accomplished,” Kriner said.

“Right after we got fifth and received our trophy, I was so excited and happy for all we have accomplished throughout the year.”

After placing seventh at last year’s competition, the Lady Cats said they  focused to place higher this season.

“We noticed the big thing each year to keep us going is that we need to relax and leave it all on the mat, two minutes and 30 seconds is all we need to focus on,” Kriner said.

Advancing throughout the seasons has been a goal for the Lady Cats.

According to sophomore member Emily Kaczmarek, they are to set higher goals each year.

“As a team, we set higher goals, and each year, we seem to be closer to achieving the national title,” Kaczmarek said.

One major aspect that got the Lady Cats noticed for fifth place this year was the difficulty of their routine.


According to Kaczmarek, the routine was up in scale in terms of difficulty.

“We knew we had to hit a clean routine and we’d be in,” Kaczmarek said.

“The biggest thing we had to do was execute it cleanly; we struggled throughout the year with our elite partner stunt, so hitting that section of the routine was our main focus.”

During the preliminary performance April 5, the Lady Cats erred, which affected their score, but that did not stop them.

“We did have a stunt fall and a tumbling mishap, which hurt our score, but, after we knew that we were going to finals, our coaches called for a practice in order to address and fix these mistakes,” Kaczmarek said.

Placing fifth in the nation was an honor to Kaczmarek and the other Lady Cats, according to Kaczmarek.

“We are pretty proud on placing fifth in the nation,” Kaczmarek said.