FORT SMITH, Ark. – Fort Smith’s Southside High School cheerleaders are going to Orlando, Florida, to compete in the UCA National High School Cheerleading Championship.

The members of the squad say they’re ready to show off their hard work and skills.

“It’s just such a once in a lifetime opportunity that we’re all just ready for it,” cheerleader Carley Ross said. “We’ve been working hard for it, this is what we’ve been looking forward to and working for all year.”

“I’m extremely proud,” cheerleader Kate Coleman added. “We put in a bunch of hard work, and I’m so excited that we have the opportunity to go.”

After a challenging last couple of years due to the pandemic, SHS varsity and competition cheer coach Hannah Graham is glad that her team can get back to their routine.

“I’m so proud,” Graham said. “We had a rough year last year with COVID, so I’m excited to have a normal, more normal year. So excited, so proud.”

The preliminary rounds are Friday, with finals taking place on Saturday. Coach Graham said the team will celebrate the competition with a trip to Disney World.