Erin King

The Dazzlers helped present the ICU Cheering Competition Opening.

Adrian De Guzman, Activities Manager

Seminole High’s Dazzlers have had an extremely successful dancing season this year, participating in two national competitions and winning in the kick category for both. Because of these results, the International Cheerleading Union (ICU) asked Seminole’s Dazzlers to perform their kick routine at the opening ceremony of their Cheerleading Championship at Disney’s Entertainment and Sports Programming Network (ESPN) Wide World of Sports, an honor the Dazzlers were more than willing to accept.

The ICU’s championship is split up into four categories: Cheer, Pom, Hip-Hop and formerly Jazz. Sadly, Jazz was removed last year, to the dismay of many. This year, the ICU has opened up the Kick category to participating teams, replacing Jazz. Because of Seminole’s outstanding reputation in the Kick category, the ICU extended this opportunity to their Dazzlers, especially since the Dazzlers have assisted with this competition’s opening ceremony for the past few years.

“For national competitions, there’s a drive to win the trophy,” says Dazzler officer Sierra Hudson. “This time, it was more like we wanted to get out there and show everyone there what we could do.”

However, the scope of the competition is much larger than some may assume. The ICU is an international organization, helping organize cheerleaders and dancers worldwide. This means that at the competition, there were over 60 countries represented, including China, Russia, the United Kingdom and many other countries.

Marina Umemura, a member of Japan’s Cheer team, says, “[Our country] gave us their loyalty. We need to perform for all the cheerleaders in Japan, and represent them as best as we can.”

Furthermore, the teams who perform in these competitions are college-level teams. The USA sends three college teams to represent them in the three categories. The other countries send cheerleaders from elite dance schools in their mid to early twenties.

Officer Kaitlyn Boncaro, a junior, says, “I think it was a huge honor, that out of all the kick teams, they chose us to perform in front of the world. I was elated that we had a chance to show the world how kick should be done.”

The competition isn’t all about winning, however. Many teams, such as Australia, are coming for the very first time, and are here more for the experience.

Sian Hull, a coach for the Australian team, says, “I know that [my team is] great […] It’s not about the competition. Anything they get from here is for the experience, and the opportunity they’ve received.
This competition was a huge event, with enough people to fill up the entire ESPN Wide World of Sports arena. The opening ceremony itself lasted over an hour, introducing each country and their respective teams. This competition is a great forum to share cheerleading and dance among many countries of the world, and is a great experience for all the teams that participated.


For photography coverage of the event, click here.