April 13 of 2013 was a lucky day for the Shockwave Senior Level 4 coed cheerleading team.
By CHARLES REDFIELD
Special to The Star
The 27-member team, comprised of young people from around the Kansas City area, won its category at the United States Finals at Municipal Auditorium.
The Fury Athletics’ Shockwave cheerleaders, ranging from 13 to 17, achieved an elusive national championship right here in Kansas City.
“Our teams work 12 months a year to compete,” owner and head coach of Fury Athletics, Erin Heffron, said. “We compete at six events to try and qualify for the U.S. Finals.”
Heffon was thrilled about the national championship.
“Shockwave winning the U.S. Finals was beyond rewarding to team members, coaches and the gym,” she said. “They worked so hard and fought through so many competitions to qualify for a shot, and winning felt very rewarding.”
How did the Shockwave team qualify for the nationals?
“Teams must qualify at other competitions in the season to compete,” Heffron said. “Every team in competition is then ranked against other U.S. finals competing at the same time.”
It is not easy to win a national championship.
“Competitors are judged by two panels of judges,” Heffron said. “They use a Jam Brand Sheet, which scores on stunts, tumbling, jumps, motions and dance.
“The members of the team are placed in stunt groups and formations. They are listening and counting the eight counts of the music to perform a choreographed routine.”
There are over a dozen competitive cheerleading organizations in the greater Kansas City area. Fury Athletics draws from all over the area and is located in Pleasant Valley, Mo.
It was founded three years ago by Heffron. She had 12 years of cheering experience in high school, college and competitive cheerleading.
Fury Athletics has five coaches, plus junior coaches and around 150 athletes who are in the program. They range in age from 3 to 18. In 2012, there were seven competitive cheer teams, one recreational cheer team, a special needs team and a competitive dance team.
“Our gym has won over over 16 national titles in the last two years,” Heffron said. “But it’s not just about winning at our gym; it’s about building a family.”