CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. — Ashley Wilbanks couldn’t have asked for better birthday presents.
Two national championships and a top-three result were more than enough for the Xtreme Allstars cheerleading coach at the ultra-competitive Athletic Championships Jan. 17 and 18.
The Blaze team (7- to 14-year-olds) entered Day 2 in fourth but finished it in first to beat seven other squads for the crown.
“They never gave up and stood together as an unstoppable force,” Wilbanks said. “With precision and bounce in their step, Blaze put strength in their motions and delivered a stellar performance.”
The Flames (9-11) accounted for the other national title, snagging the top spot early and never letting go. Like the Blaze, they beat seven other teams to take home blue jackets reserved for the big winners.
“It’s the very first time in three years a junior or youth level 2 team in our gym has had a first-place ranking,” Wilbanks said. “This team did it at our hardest competition all year.”
Last but not least, the Mini Smoke squad (6-8) landed in third. Their challengers included the No. 1 team in the nation.
Athletic Championships has been holding its national event in Chattanooga since 2002. Wilkbanks said this year’s competition was the largest since 2008. It was responsible for 13,000 tourists over the weekend.
All four teams from Xtreme Allstars, which is affiliated with the Cullman City Parks and Recreation Department, were victorious at last month’s JAMfest Mega-JAM Series cheer and dance competition. It was hosted by Samford University.