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The Navarro cheerleading squad won’t be defending their title at Daytona Beach this year.
On Sunday, Varsity Spirit announced their decision to cancel all “scheduled events for at least the next eight weeks of the 2020 competition season,” amid the recommendation by government and health officials to cancel or postpone events with 50 or more people amid the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.
“We are actively exploring all options, including rescheduling events, extending the competition season, and hosting virtual competitions, to continue to provide a competition experience for the thousands of athletes who have worked so hard this year to compete,” their statement read. “We are hopeful this situation will improve, and we sincerely appreciate your patience and understanding as we navigate this unprecedented situation. We will continue to update you with more information as soon as it’s available.”
This cancellation includes the NCA and NDA Collegiate Cheer and Dance National Championship, which was scheduled for April 8 to April 12 in Daytona Beach, Florida.
Many may recognize the event from Netflix’s popular docuseries Cheer, which followed the Navarro College Cheer team on their path to take home the first-place trophy last year.
After news of Daytona’s cancellation broke, several members of the cheer squad spoke out about their disappointment in not being able to compete this year.
“This isn’t goodbye Navarro 2020 it’s see you later. Daytona you will be missed and greatly appreciated,” La’Darius Marshall shared on Instagram Sunday. “I love everyone one of my teammates and all the love we shared.”
“The end of my cheerleading career has come a bit early. For everyone who supported me all this way I want to say thank you and I love you,” he continued. “I’m heartbroken for my team and coaches. Long live the bright light we all shared together and the countless fullouts we have done to get ready for this competition. I never got to say goodbye to my brothers and sisters but I know we all love each other dearly. To the rest of the world I love you guys and thank you for being our #1 supporters. We love you FIOFMU ❤️🖤.”
Marshall’s teammate Dillon Brandt also shared an Instagram post, writing that despite the sad news, he was “thankful for everything” that came from their season.
“Daytona is officially cancelled….as it breaks my heart to type this out…..it’s over,” Brandt wrote. “This amazing year has come to an end, but no matter what the dreams don’t stop here, I’m truly thankful for everything that has come from this…Dawgs are forever🐶.”
That same day, Shannon Woolsey shared a lengthy note alongside a photo of herself in her Navarro uniform.
“As im typing this with uncontrollable tears running down my face, i can’t help but think about how bad i just want one more performance with navarro cheer,” the athlete shared. “The amount of love i have for this program is indescribable. i never could have imagined the season ending like this. thanking this program extremely for shaping me into the person i am today, and for being my home away from home. i am so so grateful for every single experience i got to be a part of in the past 3 years. i would never trade any of it for the world.”
Woolsey continued, “I can’t wrap my head around Daytona being cancelled and the season ending way too early, but College cheerleading you did me extremely well & i will miss you more than anything ❤️ FIOFMU forever and ever. – to all the newbies coming to navarro in the future, treasure the time you have there, you will NEVER get anything like it again.”
Star cheerleader Gabi Butler also shared a note on Monday, writing about it being her last year on the squad.
“I’m gonna miss looking up to you and saying ‘I’ve got you’ I’m gonna miss walking into practice and hugging every single one of you… I’m gonna miss the love from this beautiful team 💔,” Butler wrote, with a photo of the team practicing on the mat. “I love you guys with all my heart… FIOFMU FOREVER.”
The cheerleading tournaments are just the latest sporting events to be nixed amid the pandemic. Last week, the NBA, MSL, NHL and MLB were among the many organizations that decided to postpone or cancel their training and/or games.