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Danbury High School     43 Clapboard Ridge Road Danbury, CT 06811     (203) 797-4800

The Hatters' Herald

Danbury High School     43 Clapboard Ridge Road Danbury, CT 06811     (203) 797-4800

The Hatters' Herald

Danbury High School     43 Clapboard Ridge Road Danbury, CT 06811     (203) 797-4800

The Hatters' Herald

Cowboy boots or cheer shoes?


This past weekend, the 2024 NCA All-Star Nationals returned to Dallas, Texas. The three-day competition, which took place at the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center, hosted more than 26,000 athletes from across the country. 

The National Cheerleaders Association (NCA) was established to unite cheerleaders and teach them new skills through summer camps and competitions nationwide. The event in Dallas is the most prestigious in the industry, attracting vast numbers of athletes and spectators, and is projected to grow further.

NCA promotes all-star cheer, focusing on dance, stunts, and tumbling. Meanwhile, UCA is closely associated with traditional cheerleading, and the routines are heavily focused on stunts and actual game-day chants and presentations. 

The competition in Dallas consists of divisions for level 1-7 teams, including coed and all-girl teams. In addition to competing for a championship title, teams also compete for bids to the Cheerleading Worlds, the Summit, the D2 Summit, and more. 

The convention center, a hub of intense competition, is split into six venues and one practice area, all functioning simultaneously. The world-renowned “Arena” hosts teams from some of the most talented cheerleading gyms in the world. These teams carry the weight of their legacy, the pressure to perform, and the expectation of bringing home a winning banner and the golden megaphone trophy, creating an atmosphere of thrill and excitement that engulfs the entire venue. 

The Stingray Allstars Electric, a team in the International Open Global Coed 6 division, showcased their dedication and hard work at the competition. Rookie Autumn Schless, reflecting on her experience, shared, “It was so surreal; you get this big rush of adrenaline stepping onto the mat and hearing the crowd roar as you hit your routine. This is exactly what we work towards all year, and it’s a testament to our dedication and hard work.” 

The major competitors are included in the 183 World division teams. These teams compete for their shot at an NCA title and a bid to the Cheerleading Worlds 2024. Teams eligible to go to Worlds are the best of the best; these routines are filled with the most elite-level skills in all-star cheerleading. On day 1 of the competition, 32.8% of teams hit zero, 60/183. Meanwhile, on day 2, 33.9% of teams hit zero, 62/183. “Hit zero” means a team executed a routine without any deductions. Deductions can come from stunts being dropped or athletes messing up their tumbling. 30 teams hit zero on both days. 

NCA hosted the largest regular-season competition weekend of the 2023-2024 season. All-star cheerleading offers a comprehensive and dynamic experience for cheerleaders of all ages and skill levels. All Star’s unique source of exercise instills instruction that promotes healthy living. 

The Arena lives on! 

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About the Contributor
Avery Mikyska
Avery Mikyska, Staff Writer
Hi! My name is Avery Mikyska, and I am a senior at Danbury High School. With dreams of becoming a journalist, I decided to join the school newspaper. I am so excited for this year and cannot wait to share my story :)

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  • S

    Sophie StrohMar 8, 2024 at 10:44 am

    Cowgirl boots!!!

  • L

    Leyla ReinhardtMar 8, 2024 at 10:17 am

    Great story! Love it!

  • M

    Michael CarusoMar 8, 2024 at 10:16 am

    And people still don’t think cheer is a sport smh. Such an unreal experience it was incredible (also great job Avery)