It has been a good year for some youth cheerleaders in Warren, as three teams earned bids to compete in the Young Champions National Competition, which took place on July 14 in Indianapolis, Ind., after press time.
The Warren Division 4, Warren-Woods Division 4 and Warren-Berkley Elite Division 5 teams earned their way to the national competition as a result of their performance at the Young Champions State Competition, which was held June 10 at Michigan State University.
This is Tara Storey-Krolikowski’s fourth year as coach, and it is the first time she has had the opportunity to take any squads to a national competition. Going from not having any teams make a trip to nationals to having three squads do it in one year has given Storey-Krolikowski and the girls she coaches a season they are not likely to forget.
“They were ecstatic,” she said. “I was ecstatic. I cried. Michigan and Young Champions is a powerhouse. We have over 10,000 cheerleaders in Michigan. To have three teams going from Warren is unbelievable to me. It’s a really, really nice thing. All the kids are super excited; they’re working so hard. I’m so proud of them.”
While sending three teams to Indiana isn’t something Storey-Krolikowski can say she knew was coming, there were some indications along the way that she was coaching some girls who showed they were capable of some big performances. Although the national competition may represent the culmination of what youth cheerleaders strive for, the groundwork was being laid long before the teams learned they had earned a bid.
“We kind of came out of nowhere and killed it,” Storey-Krolikowski said. “I’ve had almost every team place in the last year and a half at every competition. Even my younger teams — they have been killing it at the competitions we have. It’s an exciting program in general.”
Although earning a bid to compete on a national level may be an added bonus, according to Storey-Krolikowski, it is not her primary focus as a coach. Instead, she would rather concentrate on having those she coaches get as much enjoyment from cheerleading as she does.
“Even though placing is so nice, it is not the above all thing that matters the most,” Storey-Krolikowski said. “I tell my kids you have to just enjoy the moment, be glad you placed, worked hard that day, and did great. Next time, work just as hard. You may not place; it may not be your day. But the whole point of it is to love cheerleading and enjoy what you’re doing. It’s having fun.
“In the future, I hope they do well,” she continued. “ I got some really positive, good kids that work really hard, and that’s all I can ask for.”
Storey-Krolikowski coaches teams from the Division 1 to the Division 5 level, and although only Division 4 teams and above can qualify for national competition, she acknowledged the squad members that won’t have the opportunity to perform.
“I had quite a few teams place at regional competition,” she said. “They all did really good. My little ones have a lot of heart. They are just so excited. You can’t help but love them.”
Anybody interested in obtaining information about joining one of the teams can email coachtara email@example.com.