Corner Canyon cheer is nation’s bestMar 07, 2023 04:27PM ● By Catherine Garrett
The Corner Canyon High School cheer team won their third national championship, this time at the Universal Cheerleaders Association National High School Cheerleading Championship at the Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida, Feb. 10-12. (Photos courtesy Whitney Lunt)
The Corner Canyon High varsity cheer team followed up winning the state’s first sanctioned cheer title at the end of January with a national championship two weeks later. The Chargers proved to be the nation’s best at the Universal Cheerleaders Association National High School Cheerleading Championship at the Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida, Feb. 10-12.
“This was an amazing experience,” said head coach Whitney Lunt. “It’s our third national championship (also winning in 2018 and 2021), but actually the first time that they were truly perfect in finals which made the experience even more sweet!”
“Winning nationals was a dream come true,” said junior Zoe Kener, noting that the 2021 title was held virtually because of Covid so this year was particularly rewarding. “This team is so talented. We really trusted in each other and didn’t want to let each other down. Every girl did her part and the end result was the winning routine. It was such a great feeling to know our hard work paid off.”
Senior captain Avery Adamson said, “Winning nationals was the best feeling ever! It felt so rewarding to watch our 11 months of consistent hard work and passion pay off. This routine has required a lot of focus and effort and it felt so good to see it pay off. I couldn’t stop crying tears of joy because it all felt worth it.”
“When we were announced first place, I was so overwhelmed with joy,” said senior Jade Winkel. “It was such an amazing feeling to know that all of our hard work paid off. Our goal all year was to win nationals and it was all we had talked about since the spring. It was so rewarding to know we accomplished our goal.”
Based on the team’s performance in the preliminary round—despite not having their best routine, according to Lunt—they were able to go straight through to the finals.
“To still go straight through was a testament to just how good this team is and how talented these kids are,” Lunt said. “Our only expectation going in was to do the routine the way that it was supposed to be done and to the best of our ability. We wanted to get a zero (which means no deductions) in front of the castle. It was the most perfect routine that we have done all season.”
Lunt also noted that the leadership of her team, which consisted of the largest senior class Corner Canyon has ever had with 10, also made this year’s performance extra special.
“Our senior girls are amazing leaders with an incredible work ethic and were great examples to us and led us to success,” Kener said.
“Winning was special in itself, but winning with our seniors on the mat was even more special,” Adamson said. “I feel so much pride and gratitude as a senior and that made it that much better. We are very close and savored every moment of this year and didn’t take anything for granted because it’s our last. Winning is rewarding, but these friendships and bonds are the most rewarding, so winning with my best friends was my favorite part of all.”
“We had all been dreaming of hitting a perfect routine at nationals and we were so joyful that our last routine was the best one of the season,” Winkel said.
The 2023 nationals was even more historic for the CCHS program with three teams reaching the final round. The Game Day team placed sixth while the junior varsity squad finished seventh.
“This was pretty incredible because it was our first year ever competing in Game Day and our only goal was to make finals,” Lunt said. “Also, the first time in our history, our JV team went straight through from prelims to finals.”
The varsity team consisted of Adamson, Reagan Alleman, Brooke Barney, Lizzie Boyle, Brynley Davis, Ella Duffin, Lauren Easton, Jessica Flores, Shannon Gillespie, Annabelle Harris, Ava Johnson, Ashley Macievic, Bridgette Marsh, Mylie Matthews, Ella Nelson, Payton Reese, Livi Sharp and Jade Winkel.
On the JV squad were Izzy Bagley, Jordyn Cromar, Cambreigh Dykman, Averi Dyer, Lexi Goodbar, Kyndall Hadfield, Sophie Kennedy, Gretel Kinnersley, Macie Lewis, Kate Nelson, Kenady Parkin, Paige Rees, Christine Schmidt, Bella Shelton, Blakely Smith, Brinklee Tebbs, Ellee Wilder and Elisha Wong.
Adamson and Kener along with Alleman, Barney, Boyle, Cromar, Davis, Duffin, Easton, Flores, Gillespie, Goodbar, Harris, Johnson, Macievic, Marsh, Matthews, Ella Nelson, Reese, Schmidt, Sharp, Wilder and Winkel made up the Game Day group.
Lunt was assisted on the coaching staff by Bria Bowthorpe, Kyle Schofield and Stephanie Sampson and choreographer Cameron Larson.
“There was such pure joy that everyone had when they could see all of their hard work pay off and seeing our friends, family and even other teams being genuinely happy for the kids,” Lunt said. “They truly did earn it, and it was so nice to see other people also recognizing that. Our kids also extended kindness and friendship to everyone that they met. They are so much more than just athletes.”
“All love and credit to our amazing coaches, in particular Whitney,” Kener said. “She puts her heart and soul into this program. No one believes in us more than she does. We appreciate her more than she knows.”
In the 6A state meet at Utah Valley University Jan. 27, the Chargers won the first sanctioned championship event, now marking its fifth state title in the 10 years since the school opened.
“This was extra special this year because with being sanctioned now the process was different and required a lot more,” Lunt said. “It also meant that we were the first-ever 6A All-Girl State Champions. It made it even sweeter.”
“We knew after winning state that we were capable of winning nationals,” Kener said, particularly noting the “special bond” on the team that facilitated their success.
“State was so much fun and a big moment for our team,” Adamson said.
Ten CCHS squad members—Avery Adamson, Brooke Barney, Ella Duffin, Lauren Easton, Jessica Flores, Annabelle Harris, Ella Nelson, Christine Schmidt, Olivia Sharp and Jade Winkel —were named to the All-State team while Adamson and Barney were additionally recognized as Academic All-State.
At state, Corner Canyon competed with the traditional Show routine and then showcased routines in the Game Day division.
“It was exciting to be officially recognized as being the best of the best in the state,” Lunt said. “Once the girls hit their Show routine, we knew that the rest was just fun and that they just had to do what they had been doing all season.”
“This team was truly special,” Winkel said. “We were pushed harder than ever this year, but we knew what our goal was from the beginning and everyone was on the same page and willing to push themselves all year long.”
Lunt was thrilled with the team’s success, but just as pleased with their efforts to get there. “This team was pushed harder than ever and they really just rose to the occasion,” she said. “They consistently did their job and worked harder and demanded perfection more than any team before. Everything they have achieved they earned because they bought in and trusted the process and each other. We are more than proud of them!”