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Hill Country Stars Cheer and Dance win world championship

The four-person cheer squad of Hill Country Stars Cheer and Dance did what some thought was impossible — win the All-Star World Championship on April 21-22 in Orlando, Florida.

The squad includes Morgan Burke and Alyssa Tamaseu, both of Marble Falls, and Laramie McIntire and Haley Booe, both of Granite Shoals. Debra McIntire is the head coach. and Tamaseu also serves as the assistant.

“We came here with the thought we probably weren’t going to win because of all the cheer teams there,” Tamaseu said. “Winning is amazing. We’re coming home with the biggest win in cheer.”

Before heading to Orlando, the cheerleaders spent nine hours learning a brand new 2-and-a-half-minute routine created by Tamaseu they performed on both competition days. The music mix is a combination of jumps, dance and other cheer-related moves.

Tamaseu said the squad experienced butterflies on the first day of competition that may have contributed to a tiny mishap only noticed by the Highland Lakes natives.

“I was shaking like a chihuahua,” she said. “We had one hiccup where we froze like a deer in headlights.”

All that did was motivate the four to nail the routine on the second day, which started off shaky, the assistant coach said. The cheerleaders were late getting to the venue to warmup and sprinted to get there just in time.

“After day one, all the nerves were gone,” Tamaseu said. “Once we got on the stage and the music started, all my anxiety went away.”

The scores from the first day carried over but was only 25 percent of the total score. That commitment to being sharp and sticking every part of the routine paid off. In the final 15 seconds, the tears started coming because the squad did so well, the assistant coach said.

“We did amazing and hit it perfectly,” she said. “We did so well we were all crying. We were standing off to the side waiting for the awards. Fifteen minutes later they called us up on stage and said ‘2022 world champions.’ We hugged each other and sobbed. When we were getting sized for the championship rings and medals, we couldn’t stop crying. We felt everything we trained for was worth it.”

The All-Star World Championships drew 1,100 teams.

“There were teams that were famous in the cheer world,” Tamaseu said. “We were fan-girling. (Now we know) we are better than we think we are. Obviously now we feel like we did deserve to be in the same room with all the all-star cheerleaders we’ve watched on television.”

As she reflected on the event, Tamaseu, who will stop cheerleading to pursue a career in law enforcement, summed up what it has meant to her.

“Besides the day my daughter was born, it’s one of the greatest days of my life,” she said. “These are the people who’ll be my bridesmaids when I get married. All the dedication has paid off. It’s the perfect way to retire.”

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