By Jim Sullivan
---- — They’re going to Disney World.
It turns out the first time was the charm for All That Cheer and Tumble of Amesbury as the local gym’s Senior Level 3 team won a paid bid to compete in The Summit, a national championship competition in Orlando, Fla., May 4 and 5.
“I probably didn’t sleep for a while before that competition,” Senior 3 head coach and choreographer Rob Divo said of the Platinum Championship last weekend. “And I knew it was going to be really hard to get a bid. They were giving almost close to none. We had to be really good to get one. So, when we got a paid bid, the only bid they were giving out at that level, I just lost it. Everyone was just hugging each other. It was very moving.”
The Senior 3 beat a total of 46 teams at the Athletics Platinum Championship in Providence. A coed team culled from kids 14 years or older from across the area (Newburyport, Amesbury, West Newbury, Georgetown, Rowley, Ipswich, Raymond, N.H.), the Senior 3 consists of 30 girls and one boy. The team took first place in its division, won the award for best choreography and was named grand champions to win a paid bid, which covers entry fees, accommodations, park passes and local transportation.
All That Cheer’s Senior 4.2 team also made the trip to Providence, R.I., and came in second out of six teams. The 4.2’s will also be headed to Disney for The Summit, albeit not on a paid bid. All this was accomplished during the first time the Amesbury gym attended the Platinum Championship.
“It’s big for a gym that has only been in existence for six years,” said 4.2 co-coach Kris Almquist, who gives credit to her kids who range in age from 11 to 18 and sometimes spend as much as 12 hours a week at the gym. “For the first time they’ve ever offered something like The Summit, they are one of the gyms to go. And I think that is just huge. It’s so exciting for the kids to be a part of that history they’re making for the gym. It’s an incredible thing for them.
“I’m just really excited for the kids,” said Almquist. “I’m really lucky to work with my co-coach, Sherri Blais. She is an absolutely amazing choreographer and does an amazing job. I’m just really excited to be a part of this whole process with these kids who have earned a very special place in my heart.”
For Divo, who co-coaches with Cara Wilson and whose brother, David, creates all the music for the gym and the team, it’s all in the family at All That.
“It’s all about the kids at our gym,” Divo said. “I have so much fun with them, we’re very proud. It’s taken us a long time to get to this point.”
Both teams will join the best teams in the country and will compete at the ESPN Wide World of Sports complex in Kissimmee for The Summit, which will be televised as well as streamed on the Internet.
“I think we’ll place really well,” Divo said of The Summit. “But I don’t want any expectations going into it. You never really know how your product is going to relate to a judging panel, you just don’t know.”