Three cheers for the National Champion Holland Razorbacks

Published 4:41 pm Tuesday, December 26, 2023

A local cheer team brought home not one, not two, but three Pop Warner National Championships held in Orlando, Florida, from Dec. 4 through Dec. 7.

Hailing from the Holland community, the Holland Razorbacks Tiny Mite (ages 5-7), Junior PeeWee (ages 8-10), and Junior Varsity (ages 11-13) Pom squads all claimed the title of National Champions in the Pop Warner Pom category. For the Junior PeeWee team, this marks the second consecutive year winning the national championship in the Pom category.

The Tiny Mite squad’s championship came with a 76.80%, beating out the Southlake (IN) Red Devils by 1.93%. The Tiny Mites consist of 12 members: Abigail Berland, Nariya Bradshaw, Destiny Brown, Annabel Burggraff, Isabella Hamilton, Zoe Hitt, Makenzie James, Nicole Joyner, Skylar Orhelein, Kayleigh Pelkey, Fallyn Smith and Maci Smith.

With a score of 80.87%, the back-to-back champion, Junior PeeWee team, also beat the Southlake Red Devils by 2.67%. They also took home second place in Core Cheer. The Junior PeeWee team comprises eight members: Abigail Connagham, Evelyn Leckrone, Lilyana Noe, Kaley Pearce, Abigail Reyman, Halle Smith, Makiyah Warren and Ava Weatherly.

The Razorback Junior Varsity girls scored 83.23%, edging the Riviera Beach (FL) Chargers by .70%. The 27 member JV team consists of; Adelyn Balonis, Bria L. Balonis, Addison Berland, Aubrey Berland, Olivia Boyce, Adalei Burgos, Dior Carrington, Tegan Carter, Abigail Delgado, Charleigh Eason, Abigail Ellis, Elizabeth Ellis, Sienna Hollowell, Leah Huckeba, Tiaryn Jones, Sarah Mansfield, Emery McGee, Savanna Moore, McKenna Morris, Addison Paiz, Kendall Pittman, Callie Rose, Lacy Shaver, Olivia Sidwell, Jade Soriano, Annabella Stengel and Ryleigh Wolford.

Beaming with pride, Cheer Commissioner Heather Berland talks about how proud she is of the team and their achievements.

“We just blew it away,” she said. “I’m just so proud of us. Our little rural Suffolk, Holland borough is making history over here. This team is really, it’s really something special.”

Berland is proud of the dedication the girls show when it is time to practice. The team doesn’t have an indoor facility to call their own. According to Berland, they piece old wrestling mats together for stunts and tumbling.

“They practice in open fields or a modest church fellowship hall, using discarded mats pieced together for stunts and tumbling,” Berland said. “And it makes my heart happy to be like, ‘you can have all the money in the world and do all this stuff, but these little girls work so hard because they want it.”

According to Berland, the Razorbacks have been asked to perform at Disney, and there is a chance the team can perform in the 2025 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.

“Disney actually asked our girls to come, they’re going to have us come down, and they want us to actually perform for them,” Berland said. “We also have the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, who want our team to come perform for them in 2025.”

However, all the competitions and trips to special events cost money, which Berland says is a more significant obstacle for the organization.

“We fundraise, and that’s the only way we can get there,” she said. “And this year, we barely made it by the skin of our teeth. We went to Virginia Beach. We went to Williamsburg. We were going to all over the state of Virginia trying to get people to help us.”

Berland says sponsorships and donations will not only help cover travel and equipment costs but also help cover travel and equipment costs. For more information on how sponsorships and donations work, email 757hollandrazorbacks@gmail.com. The Holland Razorbacks is a nonprofit 501(c) (3) organization

Starting with just nine girls three years ago, Berland says the team has grown to 43 competition cheerleaders, with 62 including sideline and competition members.