T-N-T team to compete at Disney World | SierraSun.com

T-N-T team to compete at Disney World

There was an important element missing in the opening basketball game at Truckee High School on Tuesday night.

The blue and white Loyalton High School Grizzlies’ cheerleaders pounded the floor and shook their pompoms, but there was no answer from the home side.

That’s because the spirit in Truckee has shifted to the T-N-T Explosion cheer team, a team started in March by coach Teri McKinney, a Truckee High School graduate and former cheerleader.

McKinney, the lone coach of T-N-T, had been the coach at the high school, but she became frustrated with the program in general.

“There was no support from the high school,” McKinney said. “I wanted to (start T-N-T) for the girls, so they could be on a team and feel proud to be cheerleaders. Some of my girls have stopped cheering for the high school to dedicate themselves to competitive cheerleading.”

In just eight short months, success has found T-N-T, a term coined from the phrase “Truckee and Tahoe.”

With its recent first-place finish on Nov. 15 in Sacramento in the all-star category, the team has already earned a bid to the National All-Star Championship at Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Fla., from March 12 through 16.

Consisting of nine girls, grades six through 12, T-N-T competes in the Senior Novice division. Their goal is to raise $8,000 by the end of February, so they can make the trip to Florida in March.

“The girls are ecstatic right now,” McKinney said, “but they are also scared that they won’t be able to raise enough money.”

The girls have been selling advertising spots to local businesses on the back of their team sweatshirts for $300 per spot. McKinney urges any individual or business with a good fund-raising idea to call her at 582-6994.

On Saturday, the team will compete in the Reno Holiday Classic regional tournament at Spanish Springs High School in Sparks, Nev.

“We can compete in as many regional competitions as we want, but we have to pay $20-$40 per girl,” McKinney said. “Our goal from the beginning was to compete in one per month. Already earning a bid to nationals gives us time to define our routine. Even though we want to win, regionals gives us a chance to practice.”

In Sparks, in addition to the all-star cheer routine, T-N-T will perform a dance number in the hip-hop division.

McKinney is quick to defend her athletes and answer to critics who think cheerleading is not a sport.

“Cheerleading is a complete sport, I’m sorry,” she said. “These girls work hard in a high-risk competitive sport. Cheerleading happens to be in the top five for number of injuries among all sports.”

The T-N-T Explosion will compete in the All-Star Cheerleading Regional Competition Dec. 6 at Spanish Springs High School in Sparks from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Cost is $8 for adults and $2 for children.

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