Thursday, September 21, 2017 Elyria 63°


Avon cheerleading team ready for Worlds Championship


AVON — It’s not every day that a cheerleading team earns a paid trip to Walt Disney World, but this weekend, Avon’s Ohio Extreme Intensity team will fly there to compete in the Cheerleading Worlds Championship.

The team is the only all-girls team in Ohio to receive a paid bid there, earning them the designation of the top 2 percent of cheerleaders in the world. The group received the $25,000 award during Cheer Power in Columbus on March 30.

The team, coached by Tumble & Cheers owner Heather Zidek, consists of 20 girls ages 12 to 18. They will compete Saturday and learn Sunday whether their hard work earns them a spot in the finals.

To proceed to the finals, the team will have to place in the top 10.

In addition to Ohio Extreme Intensity competing this weekend, the Ohio Extreme Momentum team — the Small Junior 3 division — and the Ohio Extreme Adrenaline — the Small Senior 2 division — each earned a bid to The Summit competition, also at ESPN’s Wide World of Sports in Walt Disney World.

Those teams will compete May 3 and 4.

Zidek said she is proud of the coaches and athletes for their hard work this year.

The Cheerleading Worlds is produced by The International All Star Federation and the United States All Star Federation. It brings together more than 9,000 cheer and 3,500 dance athletes to vie for world champion titles in senior and international club divisions and categories.

Zidek said the goal this year is for the teams to earn a top 10 designation.

Because of the bid, Ohio Extreme Intensity will automatically advance to the semi-finals this weekend without having to compete in the preliminary round, comprised of 54 teams. On the second day of the competition, the team will compete against 43 other Small Senior 5 All-Girl teams.

Alyssa Zidek, a junior at Elyria Catholic High School and the daughter of Heather Zidek, has been training for competitions for 13 years. She said they’ve been practicing tumbles, dances and acrobatics several days a week to prepare.

Emma Sturbleng, a senior at Marion L. Steele High School and Ohio Extreme Intensity team member, said cheerleading in competitions differs from traditional high school cheerleading, in that there is a high-level of athleticism involved.

The state has a “ground-bound” rule, which prohibits high school cheerleaders from performing aerial stunts, Heather Zidek said.

“When I came to Ohio Extreme, I was nowhere near the level that I am at now,” said Sturbleng, who added that she started off as a Little League cheerleader in North Ridgeville.

Now, Sturbleng, who plans to cheer in college, looks back at the accomplishments the team has had this year.

“It’s breathtaking because this is as far as you can get in cheerleading,” she said. “Now, it’s our turn to go to Worlds and show them what we’re made of.”

A Worlds Send Off party was held Wednesday night at Tumbles & Cheers in Avon. During the event, the Ohio Extreme Intensity team performed its Worlds routine.

Contact Chelsea Miller at 329-7123 or Follow her on Twitter @ChelseaMillerCT.

Momentum team

  • Lily Brezine, Rocky River
  • Haylee Duesler, Avon
  • Catherine Durkin, Rocky River
  • Maggie Frank, Avon
  • Morgan Frank, Avon
  • Belckys Garcia, Lorain
  • Olivia Gendics, Lorain
  • Abbey Goetz, Avon Lake
  • Grace Kelsheimer, Westlake
  • Sydney Krauth, Avon
  • Lauren Molloy, Avon Lake
  • Maia Nardi, Avon
  • Maddie Patton, Rocky River
  • Ben Sturbleng, Amherst
  • Natalie Vasu, Lorain
  • Christina Wilhoit, North Olmsted
  • Samantha Wilhoit, North Olmsted
  • Emily Wolff, Westlake
  • Avery Zidek, Avon Lake
  • Julia Zidek, Avon
  • Julia Sherrill, Avon

Adrenaline team

  • Elizabeth Arendash, Columbia Station
  • Taylor Bruce, Avon
  • Erika Darnell, Olmsted Falls
  • Catherine Durkin, Rocky River
  • Maggie Frank, Avon
  • Olivia Gendics, Lorain
  • Lindsey Gilchrist, Grafton
  • Marjory Hill, Amherst
  • Madeline Laslo, Amherst
  • Kayla McNamara, Rocky River
  • Emma Morgan, Avon Lake
  • Casey Pinkerton, Avon
  • Taylor Polivka, Westlake
  • Michaela Rider, Elyria
  • Madison Shaw, Avon Lake
  • Kim Siegel, Avon
  • Ben Sturbleng, Amherst
  • Gia Valenti, Avon
  • Joey Valenti, Avon
  • Julia Zidek, Avon

Intensity team

  • Alexandria Anastasopoulos, Westlake
  • Christy Fenik, Vermilion
  • Cora Fenik, Vermilion
  • Madison Karnow, South Amherst
  • Emily Mattey, Amherst
  • Hallie Morrison, Elyria
  • Ashley Mysza, Sagamore Hills
  • Maddie Patton, Rocky River
  • Alison Phillips, Vermilion
  • Laura Sheehan, Avon
  • Joanna Stefancin, North Ridgeville
  • Emma Sturbleng, Amherst
  • Alison Walasinski, Avon Lake
  • Sage Waryck, Avon
  • Becca Welther, LaGrange
  • Nikki Worcester, Avon Lake
  • Alyssa Zehe, Lorain
  • Alyssa Zidek, Avon
  • Kaitlyn Bauer, Amherst
  • Kim Seigel, Avon

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