Adapting and overcoming is the attitude that a large portion of our community has adopted since Hurricane Ian.
Especially for 32 girls in Cape Coral who are competing in the Pop Warner Youth Varsity Cheer. The Cape Coral Youth Hurricanes Cheer Squad were set back for a month when where they practiced was destroyed.
Nationals championship. CREDIT: WINK News
Despite this, the girls took first place at regionals and followed up with a national championship, springboarding them to the global competition.
A huge accomplishment for the squad since no team from Cape Coral has ever competed in globals before. The squad said the national title was even more special given what Hurricane Ian did to Southwest Florida.
“It didn’t feel real,” cheerleader Claire Johnson said.
“Just chills down our body. Tears, instant tears,” head coach Beth Morrish said.
“I’ve always wanted to go to globals when I was really young. And it’s like doing something that’s been a dream for a very long time,” cheerleader Arianna Figueroa said.
The Hurricanes practicing. CREDIT: WINK News
Winning the opportunity to compete in globals is enough proof to say this squad does not lack talent. Beth Morrish, the head coach, has raised an incredible core squad, training many of the girls since they were five.
“Trust is a big thing. They know who’s next to them,” Morrish said. “They know what they’re capabilities are. And I think that makes them a stronger group.”
“We’re all there together. We’re all doing this together. And if we win, we’re going to be doing it together,” Johnson said.
That togetherness was put to the test by Hurricane Ian, and they showed how strong they were.
The damaged practice field from Hurricane Ian. CREDIT: WINK News
The Hurricanes receive constant inspiration from their squad name and what it reminded them of, spurring them to push, overcome, and conquer. After the storm ravaged their practice field and community, the team locked in on their goal.
“They wanted to make sure this was a light at the end of the tunnel per se. In that they were going to make this a core memory for themselves and their team,” coach Morrish said.
The Hurricanes squad. CREDIT: BETH MORRISH
And they have that opportunity ahead of them, representing Cape Coral in front of the world.
Johnson makes it clear what the goal is for the Hurricanes.
“First place,” Johnson said.
The squad said they’re fired up not only about the chance to compete again but also to spend more time together and maybe see some snow.
Globals begin in February in Atlantic City.