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Wiesbaden sophomore Erika Chavez cheers with a megaphone during the DODEA-Europe cheer tournament on Saturday, Feb. 24, 2018, in Wiesbaden, Germany.

Wiesbaden sophomore Erika Chavez cheers with a megaphone during the DODEA-Europe cheer tournament on Saturday, Feb. 24, 2018, in Wiesbaden, Germany. (Jennifer H. Svan/Stars and Stripes)

Wiesbaden sophomore Erika Chavez cheers with a megaphone during the DODEA-Europe cheer tournament on Saturday, Feb. 24, 2018, in Wiesbaden, Germany.

Wiesbaden sophomore Erika Chavez cheers with a megaphone during the DODEA-Europe cheer tournament on Saturday, Feb. 24, 2018, in Wiesbaden, Germany. (Jennifer H. Svan/Stars and Stripes)

Wiesbaden cheerleaders celebrate their Division I win at the DODEA-Europe cheer tournament on Saturday, Feb. 24, 2018, in Wiesbaden, Germany.

Wiesbaden cheerleaders celebrate their Division I win at the DODEA-Europe cheer tournament on Saturday, Feb. 24, 2018, in Wiesbaden, Germany. (Jennifer H. Svan/Stars and Stripes)

Alconbury's cheer squad reacts to winning the Division III title at the DODEA-Europe cheer tournament on Saturday, Feb. 24, 2018, in Wiesbaden Germany.

Alconbury's cheer squad reacts to winning the Division III title at the DODEA-Europe cheer tournament on Saturday, Feb. 24, 2018, in Wiesbaden Germany. (Jennifer H. Svan/Stars and Stripes)

Lakenheath senior Kennedy Johnson cheers while holding up a school sign during the DODEA-Europe cheer tournament on Saturday, Feb. 24, 2018, in Wiesbaden, Germany.

Lakenheath senior Kennedy Johnson cheers while holding up a school sign during the DODEA-Europe cheer tournament on Saturday, Feb. 24, 2018, in Wiesbaden, Germany. (Jennifer H. Svan/Stars and Stripes)

Ramstein sophomore Samantha Sonka helped her team to a third-place finish in Division I at the DODEA-Europe cheer tournament on Saturday, Feb. 24, 2018, in Wiesbaden, Germany.

Ramstein sophomore Samantha Sonka helped her team to a third-place finish in Division I at the DODEA-Europe cheer tournament on Saturday, Feb. 24, 2018, in Wiesbaden, Germany. (Jennifer H. Svan/Stars and Stripes)

Wiesbaden cheerleaders do splits in the air during the DODEA-Europe cheer tournament on Saturday, Feb. 24, 2018, in Wiesbaden, Germany.

Wiesbaden cheerleaders do splits in the air during the DODEA-Europe cheer tournament on Saturday, Feb. 24, 2018, in Wiesbaden, Germany. (Jennifer H. Svan/Stars and Stripes)

Vilseck junior Kaeylene Nevarez flies through the air during the DODEA-Europe cheer tournament on Saturday, Feb. 24, 2018, in Wiesbaden, Germany.

Vilseck junior Kaeylene Nevarez flies through the air during the DODEA-Europe cheer tournament on Saturday, Feb. 24, 2018, in Wiesbaden, Germany. (Jennifer H. Svan/Stars and Stripes)

Stuttgart's cheerleaders jump in the air during the DODEA-Europe cheer tournament on Saturday, Feb. 24, 2018, in Wiesbaden, Germany. Stuttgart finished second in Division I.

Stuttgart's cheerleaders jump in the air during the DODEA-Europe cheer tournament on Saturday, Feb. 24, 2018, in Wiesbaden, Germany. Stuttgart finished second in Division I. (Jennifer H. Svan/Stars and Stripes)

Kaiserslautern sophomore Elena Russey smiles while competing in the DODEA-Europe cheer tournament on Saturday, Feb. 24, 2018, in Wiesbaden, Germany.

Kaiserslautern sophomore Elena Russey smiles while competing in the DODEA-Europe cheer tournament on Saturday, Feb. 24, 2018, in Wiesbaden, Germany. (Jennifer H. Svan/Stars and Stripes)

Kaiserslautern shows its team spirit during the DODEA-Europe cheer tournament on Saturday, Feb. 24, 2018, in Wiesbaden, Germany.

Kaiserslautern shows its team spirit during the DODEA-Europe cheer tournament on Saturday, Feb. 24, 2018, in Wiesbaden, Germany. (Jennifer H. Svan/Stars and Stripes)

Rota earned first place in Division II and placed three cheerleaders on the all-tournament team during the DODEA-Europe cheer tournament on Saturday, Feb. 24, 2018, in Wiesbaden, Germany.

Rota earned first place in Division II and placed three cheerleaders on the all-tournament team during the DODEA-Europe cheer tournament on Saturday, Feb. 24, 2018, in Wiesbaden, Germany. (Jennifer H. Svan/Stars and Stripes)

Naples freshman Abby Acheson cheers from up high during the DODEA-Europe cheer tournament on Saturday, Feb. 24, 2018, in Wiesbaden, Germany.

Naples freshman Abby Acheson cheers from up high during the DODEA-Europe cheer tournament on Saturday, Feb. 24, 2018, in Wiesbaden, Germany. (Jennifer H. Svan/Stars and Stripes)

I'vani Tarver, a Vicenza junior, gets a boost during the DODEA-Europe cheer tournament on Saturday, Feb. 24, 2018, in Wiesbaden, Germany.

I'vani Tarver, a Vicenza junior, gets a boost during the DODEA-Europe cheer tournament on Saturday, Feb. 24, 2018, in Wiesbaden, Germany. (Jennifer H. Svan/Stars and Stripes)

Aviano cheerleaders dance it up en route to a third-place Division II finish at the DODEA-Europe cheer tournament on Saturday, Feb. 24, 2018, in Wiesbaden, Germany.

Aviano cheerleaders dance it up en route to a third-place Division II finish at the DODEA-Europe cheer tournament on Saturday, Feb. 24, 2018, in Wiesbaden, Germany. (Jennifer H. Svan/Stars and Stripes)

Alconbury cheerleaders look like they're having fun at the DODEA-Europe cheer tournament on Saturday, Feb. 24, 2018, in Wiesbaden, Germany. The Dragons took first place in Division III.

Alconbury cheerleaders look like they're having fun at the DODEA-Europe cheer tournament on Saturday, Feb. 24, 2018, in Wiesbaden, Germany. The Dragons took first place in Division III. (Jennifer H. Svan/Stars and Stripes)

Baumholder cheerleaders laugh and smile during the DODEA-Europe cheer tournanment on Saturday, Feb. 24, 2018, in Wiesbaden, Germany. Baumholder finished second in Division III.

Baumholder cheerleaders laugh and smile during the DODEA-Europe cheer tournanment on Saturday, Feb. 24, 2018, in Wiesbaden, Germany. Baumholder finished second in Division III. (Jennifer H. Svan/Stars and Stripes)

Spangdahlem cheerleaders work to complete a pyramid at the DODEA-Europe cheer tournament on Saturday, Feb. 24, 2018, in Wiesbaden, Germany. The Sentinels took second place in Division II during their first year at their new school, after Bitburg closed last year.

Spangdahlem cheerleaders work to complete a pyramid at the DODEA-Europe cheer tournament on Saturday, Feb. 24, 2018, in Wiesbaden, Germany. The Sentinels took second place in Division II during their first year at their new school, after Bitburg closed last year. (Jennifer H. Svan/Stars and Stripes)

WIESBADEN, Germany — Long before basketball took center court, cheerleaders from across Europe rocked the Clay Kaserne Fitness Center Saturday morning with high-flying stunts, spirited dance moves and rowdy cheers.

Eighteen cheer squads competed in DODEA’s 23rd Annual Cheer Tournament of Champions, giving fans who packed the gym early something to cheer for ahead of the European basketball finals.

Results in Division I mirrored 2017: Wiesbaden defended its title, while Stuttgart was runner-up and Ramstein finished third.

The Warriors channeled the energy of their home crowd to put on a performance that capped a season of just as much hard work and dedication as last year, said junior Savannah Fisher, who was named to the Division I all-cheer team.

“When you first walk out and see everyone cheering for you, it’s so surreal,” she said.

Nerves were definitely a factor, said Alicia Tate, a sophomore on the Rota team that defended its Division II crown, beating Spangdahlem and Aviano.

The best part of the competition, Tate said, was “getting the routine over and done with. I had butterflies.”

Alconbury freshman Victorya Brown was so nervous she doesn’t even remember her school’s Division III winning routine.

“It’s such a blur,” she said.

The Dragons toppled Baumholder and last year’s champ, Sigonella.

Each team had to perform for at least 2 minutes and 15 seconds, and no more than 2:30.

Judges scored them across a range of categories, from difficulty and execution of stunts to how well their cheers engaged and energized the crowd, said Kate Vitulli, a member of the DODEA-Europe cheer staff.

“This is a showcase for them,” Vitulli said of the competition. “Normally, it’s all about what they’re doing to support the crowd and a team.”

The tournament “showcases the skills and talent and athleticism” that they have as cheerleaders, she said.

svan.jennifer@stripes.comTwitter: @stripesktown

ResultsDivision I 1. Wiesbaden, 2. Stuttgart, 3. RamsteinDivision II 1. Rota, 2. Spangdahlem, 3. AvianoDivision III 1. Alconbury, 2. Baumholder, 3. Sigonella

Spirit Award (given to teams that showed the best combination of athleticism and school spirit during the DODEA-Europe basketball tournament)Division I – Kaiserslautern; Division II – Rota; Division III – Alconbury.

All-TournamentDivison I Amanda Fuglaar, Stuttgart; Autumn Torres and Kennedy Johnson, Lakenheath; Jada Branch and Jordan Green, Kaiserslautern; Katlyn Romanowski, Naples; Lauren Miller, Vicenza; Lexie Leipheimer, SHAPE; Samantha Sonka and Yesenia Earth, Ramstein; Savannah Fisher and Ta’Nya Thomas, Wiesbaden.Division II Kaleigh Brown, Spangdahlem; Kendell Demeritt, Madelynn Scopa, and Shannon McLaughlin, Rota; Laura Hacker and Zefan Hu, AOSR; Talitha Island and Victoria Taylor (Aviano).Division III Aaliyah Rawlings, Sigonella; Eve Myers and Kyhlee Edwards, Hohenfels; Grace Baxter and Kaylee Sink, Brussels; Grace Pedigo and Kacie Baldevia, Baumholder; Isabel Black, Alconbury.

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Jennifer reports on the U.S. military from Kaiserslautern, Germany, where she writes about the Air Force, Army and DODEA schools. She’s had previous assignments for Stars and Stripes in Japan, reporting from Yokota and Misawa air bases. Before Stripes, she worked for daily newspapers in Wyoming and Colorado. She’s a graduate of the College of William and Mary in Virginia.
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