KENNEWICK -- Mid-Columbia Gymnastics Academy of Kennewick earned championship recognition as its Elite Force teams posted first-place finishes in two events and posted a top-ive appearance in another at the Jamz All-Star Cheer & Dance Nationals held last month at the Orleans Hotel in Las Vegas.
The Group Stunt Level 5 and Show Cheer Level 4 Large squads each placed first with point totals of 86.6 and 93.45, respectively, and the Show Cheer Level 3 Large group scored 90.71 to earn fourth overall in their event.
"You build up points by difficulty of routine for a higher start value," Elite Force coach Beth Millard explained. "And you lose points by execution."
The intense three-day competition allowed Elite Force to execute its feats of balance and strength with style and energy, outshining the talents of approximately 325 teams, 200 of which were all-star groupings from in and around California.
And it was an especially notable performance by the four-person stunt team: Pasco High's Kierra Groce, Kamiakin's Alexis McCallister and Richland High's Jenna Damberg and Ashley Rampon
"They're a big deal, this is their second year winning, " said Millard, who added that the foursome is undefeated both locally and nationally.
Repeat titles aside, success is not an achievement easily realized in cheer/dance whether the competitive focus is local, national or world rivalries.
Millard, who shares coaching responsibility with Christine Berglund, explained that in Level 4 competition, for example, the athletes are allowed to twist to the top in stunts, one-legged stunts, double-downs from two feet and single downs from one foot.
But that's not all.
"You're allowed braced flips and pyramids, standing tucks, hand tucks and layouts in running tumbling," Millard said.
And Level 3 is no walk in the park, either, with standing back handsprings and single twists from two feet among the litany of approved moves required to establish a standout performance.
Next for MCGA is the PacWest Open Championships in Portland for Elite Force's Levels 1 and 3 teams and the Universal Cheerleaders Association Nationals in Orlando, Fla., for the Senior Teal Level 4 team -- both scheduled this weekend.
Senior Teal Level 4
Lexi Baasch, Kendal Berglund, Francesca Blair, Dana Brigantic, Jordan Chavallo, Melanie Clark, Danielle Cockrell, Jenna Damberg, Michael Dougherty, Katie Enox, Mikaela Espinoza, Kyli Faulkner, Jordyn Foreman, Shyla Godinez, Kierra Groce, Ashlyn Hardman, Bailey Keller, Ashley Lofton, Alexis McCallister, Christie Messinger, Taylor Neubauer, Nicole Noonan, Zak Peterson, Ashley Rampon, Kylee Schwartz, Makenzie Taber, Natalee Tames, Jasmin Thai, Katie Wiley, Rheannon York.
Senior Blue Level 3
Carly Brown, Payton Caruth, Dayenne Correa, Taylor Dean, Briana Hess, Samantha Hildman, Jade Hill, Trivia Hiller, Emily Martin, Marchand McCauley, Jasmine Mendoza, Michelle Patrick, Morgan Rasmussen, Megan Wiley, Hope Yates, Zak Peterson
Jasmin Thai, Melanie Clark, Kendal Berglund, Alexis McCallister, Katie Wiley, Michael Dougherty.
Youth Silver Level 3
Lexi Barcomb, Tori Berglund, Kylie Carrol, Austin DeWitt, Marissa Gaines, Sydni Garcia, Madelaine Haynie, Michaela Herres, Kaili Knapp, Coley Levin, Gabrielle March, Kylee Mitchell, Reagan Mercer, Cassie Montelius, Annie Naccarato, Avery Poole, Tiana Smoth, Katie Thein, Amanda Wilson, Lindsey Wilson.
Youth White Level 1
Abby Davis, Lillian Kinnison, Kalea Kummer, Rilee Lang, Rebecca Lara, McKenzie Manthei, Savanna Manthei, Kate McCleary, Kylee Mitchell, Brionna Ney, Savannah Owens, Sieraka Roberts, Bailey Vandervert.