The Costa Mesa High School cheer team took home a top honor from the National Cheerleaders Assn. last week.
The team won the American School Spirit Award, which names the top overall cheer program in the nation for contributions made in community service, academics, school spirit and cheer skills.
Kori Johnson, the Costa Mesa High cheer coach and advisor, said she almost didn’t apply for the award this year.
“No team had ever won it twice,” she said. “I didn’t think we’d win again.”
The team first won the award in 2009.
This year, the team beat out 564 schools for the prestigious award at nationals in Orlando, Fla.
The team also came in fourth in the nation for their routine.
The award is particularly important to Johnson.
“It looks at our program as a whole instead of just a single routine,” she said. “Some schools may only focus on competition or game day. We focus on all aspects of cheerleading.”
Costa Mesa High was the first school in the area to encourage its cheerleaders to participate in community service, Johnson said.
“It’s nice to see other schools and programs get involved now,” she said. “It’s great that we were a leader in that.”
— Hannah Fry