Cheerleaders from Atholton and Oakland Mills high schools in east Columbia won top prizes in a regional cheerleading contest last month and were invited to compete for a national title in February, school officials said yesterday.
At the competition held Nov. 23 at Atholton High, Atholton's junior varsity team won a first-place award for the second year in a row, and its varsity team took a second-place award, said Scott Elliott of the Universal Cheerleading Association, which sponsored the event.
The Oakland Mills varsity team won a first and the school's junior varsity team came in third, he said.
At the same competition -- which included cheerleaders from 36 schools in Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Delaware and the District of Columbia -- junior varsity and varsity squads from Wilde Lake High in West Columbia also took fourth-place prizes.
As a result of the competition, Atholton was the only school in the contest that had both its cheer squads invited to the national competition in Florida, Elliott said.
"We were so excited when they said we got first place," said Katie Roberts, 14, who lives in North Laurel and is a member of the Atholton junior varsity squad. "We were hugging and yelling. It was great."
Said Carla Crovo, Katie's coach, said, "These girls were very, very committed, dedicated and hard-working. They [regularly] practice three hours a day, five days a week. Before the competition, they practiced every single day for about two weeks."
To enter the national contest, each girl must pay $280 for entry fees and hotel room, plus airfare to Orlando, Fla.
Atholton's cheerleaders are still raising money but are sure they will make the trip, said Doreen Roberts, whose daughters, Katie and Julie, 16, will compete.
But Oakland Mills' first-place varsity team is still scrambling to get the money together, said team captain Liz Soglia of Oakland Mills village.
"As of now, we're not sure if we'll go," she said. "It's just so much money to get there."
The deadline for submitting entry fees is Friday.
Pub Date: 12/10/96