January 30, 2015 12:00AM
There are times when a team is merely a collection of individuals working together for a common goal.
Then there are times when a team is more than that. It’s more than just a sum of its parts. The team is one body, one soul, moving as one toward one cause.
The 2014-2015 Pittsburg State Spirit Squad can be found in the latter category.
“We are more than a team,” said Shelby George. “We are a family.”
That cohesiveness shined through this month when the Spirit Squad earned a third-place finish at the UCA College Cheerleading and Dance Team National Championships in Orlando, Fla.
The third-place finish was the squad’s highest finish since 2006, when they finished fourth in the nation. The squad won the national championship in 2001.
The top three finish for this year’s Gorillas meant more than just taking home a big trophy. For the men and women on the Spirit Squad, it represented the months of hard work put in to prepare for that moment.
“This team has gone through so much adversity this season and coming out with a top three finish really proves how strong this team is,” said Captain Clare Petrucci. “I've never worked with a more dedicated and hard-working group. I am a very proud captain and could not have been happier with the outcome.”
Coach Linda Graham said she was proud of the “heart and determination” the squad put into this year’s routine.
“You could tell how much this meant to them just by watching them perform,” Graham said. “It was a very proud moment for me. I couldn’t be more happy for this group of outstanding young men and women.”
While earning a top three finish is exciting, George said the true thrill for her is getting to perform with those she considers “family.”
“I am so honored to be a part of this team and couldn't be more proud of what we accomplished at nationals,” she said.