EJHS cheerleaders place in top three at UCA Nationals 

Published 4:09 pm Wednesday, February 21, 2024

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By John Estes

For the Journal


The East Jessamine High School cheerleading squad has made history by clinching a top-three finish at the 2024 UCA Nationals, held at the ESPN Wide World of Sports in Orlando, Florida, Feb.9-12. This achievement marks a significant milestone for the team competing in the Small Coed division.

The team first attended a UCA camp over the summer to reach the nationals and then competed at the UCA Bluegrass regional competition. Thousands of teams from across the country attend this prestigious event, making it the most sought-after competition in high school cheerleading.

In the finals, East Jessamine High School earned an impressive score of 82.6, narrowly missing 2nd place by a tenth of a point. The first-place team scored 86.3, showcasing the intense competition at this level.

Last year, the squad did not advance past the preliminaries. However, the experience gained motivated them to return this year with renewed determination. With a team composition of seven seniors, three juniors, one sophomore, three freshmen and one eighth-grader, the squad demonstrated a potent mix of experience and talent.

Coach Coco Ellison, a former cheerleader, has been coaching at various levels since college. With a background that includes winning three state championships in high school and cheering at the University of South Florida, Ellison has been instrumental in the team’s success.

This year’s accomplishment is not the first for East Jessamine High School. In 2022, the team placed in the top ten for the first time in school history. This year’s top-three finish further cements their status as a force to be reckoned with in the cheerleading world.

The team’s success can be attributed to their dedication and hard work. Coach Ellison said their team motto was, “Leave no doubt.” They focused on the mental aspect of cheerleading, practicing performing under pressure and studying the habits of champions. Their commitment to excellence, both on and off the mat, has set them apart and led to this historic achievement.

As they celebrate this milestone, the East Jessamine High School cheer team is already setting their sights on next year’s competition with the goal of taking home the top prize. Their journey to the top has been filled with challenges, but their resilience and determination have made them champions in every sense of the word.