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From left, Chayla Walton, Jade Snedeker, Ellie Martin, Mariyah Senter andCheyanne Plewe of the Lakenheath Youth Program’s cheerleading squad, the Thunder Birds, pose with one of their trophies at the Winter Wonderland Cheer and Dance Championship in London on Saturday. The junior squad is part of the Tribe, which brought home five top-three finishes in the annual competition.
From left, Chayla Walton, Jade Snedeker, Ellie Martin, Mariyah Senter andCheyanne Plewe of the Lakenheath Youth Program’s cheerleading squad, the Thunder Birds, pose with one of their trophies at the Winter Wonderland Cheer and Dance Championship in London on Saturday. The junior squad is part of the Tribe, which brought home five top-three finishes in the annual competition. (Courtesy photo)
From left, Chayla Walton, Jade Snedeker, Ellie Martin, Mariyah Senter andCheyanne Plewe of the Lakenheath Youth Program’s cheerleading squad, the Thunder Birds, pose with one of their trophies at the Winter Wonderland Cheer and Dance Championship in London on Saturday. The junior squad is part of the Tribe, which brought home five top-three finishes in the annual competition.
From left, Chayla Walton, Jade Snedeker, Ellie Martin, Mariyah Senter andCheyanne Plewe of the Lakenheath Youth Program’s cheerleading squad, the Thunder Birds, pose with one of their trophies at the Winter Wonderland Cheer and Dance Championship in London on Saturday. The junior squad is part of the Tribe, which brought home five top-three finishes in the annual competition. (Courtesy photo)
Lakenheath Youth Programs cheerleading team member Addie Goldstein, 7, strikes a pose atop a cluster of fellow members of the Tribe, from left, Megan Wray, Crystal McCauley, Darian Crowley and Briana Senter, unseen at rear. The girls were polishing their stunt routine two days before an upcoming cheerleading competition in London.
Lakenheath Youth Programs cheerleading team member Addie Goldstein, 7, strikes a pose atop a cluster of fellow members of the Tribe, from left, Megan Wray, Crystal McCauley, Darian Crowley and Briana Senter, unseen at rear. The girls were polishing their stunt routine two days before an upcoming cheerleading competition in London. (Ben Murray / S&S)
Cheyanne Plewe, Mariyah Senter, Jade Snedeker and Ellie Pittman, launch Chayla Walton into the air in a practice for their stunt routine.
Cheyanne Plewe, Mariyah Senter, Jade Snedeker and Ellie Pittman, launch Chayla Walton into the air in a practice for their stunt routine. (Ben Murray / S&S)

RAF LAKENHEATH — For the girls in the Lakenheath Youth Programs’ cheerleading squad, the sideline of a sports event is no place to perform.

Instead, the group, known as the Tribe, was front and center Saturday as they took their routines to the Winter Wonderland Cheer and Dance Championships in London, where they earned top trophies in several categories.

The Tribe took three stunt groups, delineated mainly by age, and two full squads for overall competition and brought home five top-three finishes in the annual competition, attended by about 20 teams this year, said assistant coach Danna Plewe.

The youngest stunt group, the Tomahawks, won gold on Saturday, while the Indians stunt team took third. The Chiefs, the stunt team made up of the oldest cheerleaders also took first, said 13-year-old Tribe member Cheyanne Plewe.

In the overall cheerleading competition, the girls junior team, the Thunder Birds, landed second, while the older group, the Cherokees, grabbed first place, the younger Plewe said.

“It was great, the places that we were concerned about, they nailed,” Danna Plewe said. “They exceeded our expectations.”

At a practice just two days before Saturday’s competition, girls said they were optimistic about their chances of performing well at Winter Wonderland, but apprehensive about some elements.

“I think we’re going to do really well because we’ve been practicing a lot,” Cheyanne Plewe said.

Some team members said they were a little nervous because cheerleading teams only get one chance to perform their routines for the judges, members said. One slip up and a squad can be out of contention.

One maneuver in particular had the girls on edge Thursday: the pyramid.

“We’ve been working on our pyramid because that’s our hardest stunt,” said 14-year-old Mariyah Senter.

But on Saturday the pyramid came off without a hitch for both the Cherokees and T-Birds and helped lead them to their high finishing scores.

“They actually nailed both pyramids. Our stunt groups were awesome,” Cheyanne Plewe said.

She said the teams were ecstatic after their performances, which earned them a collection of trophies.

“Everyone was really excited,” she said.

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