Bartow HS cheerleaders win national championship

Bartow High School takes home the large varsity coed win during the 2016 National High School Cheerleading and Dance Team Championships (PRNewsFoto/Varsity Spirit)

BARTOW, Fla. (WFLA) — Bartow High School’s cheerleading squad has some serious bragging rights, the team was recently crowned national champions.

The team won the National Championship in the Large Varsity Coed division at the 2016 UCA National High School Cheerleading Championship held in Orlando last weekend. The win came after the team earned its third-straight Florida High School Athletic Association state title win.

More than 18,000 of the country’s top high school cheerleaders and dancers participated in the competition. The cheerleading championship took place Feb. 6 – 7 and the dance championship the previous weekend of Jan. 30 – 31, both at Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando.

The two events included nearly 5,400 dancers from 345 teams and nearly 13,000 cheerleaders from 667 teams.

Cheerleading teams are judged on their stunting and tumbling skills, crowd-leading abilities and overall performance, while the dance competition is judged on choreography, technique, execution and overall effect. Teams competing in the championship had to qualify at a regional event or camp in order to participate.

Varsity Spirit will be posting segments of each performance on its website so fans can watch their favorite teams. The competitions will also air on ESPNU and ESPN2 starting in March and will continue through mid-April.

Cheerleading Large Division winners included:

  • Large Varsity Division I (>1,600 school enrollments): Sachem East High School—Lake Ronkonkoma, N.Y.
  • Large Varsity Division II (<1,599 school enrollments): Mount Sinai High School—Mount Sinai, N.Y.
  • Large Varsity Coed (21-30 members; 8+ males): Bartow High School—Bartow, Fla.

Cheerleading Medium Division winners included:

  • Medium Varsity Division I (>1,300 school enrollments): Live Oak High School—Watson, La.
  • Medium Varsity Division II (<1,299 school enrollments): Corbin High School –Corbin, Ky.
  • Medium Varsity Coed (21 – 25 members; 4-7 males): Fleming Island High School –Orange Park, Fla.

Cheerleading Small Division winners included:

  • Small Varsity Division I (>1,300 school enrollments): El Dorado High School – Placentia, Calif.
  • Small Varsity Division II (<1,299 school enrollments): Pikeville High School—Pikeville, Ky.
  • Small Varsity Coed (5-20 members; 1-4 males): Sparkman High School – Harvest, Ala.

Dance Team Large Varsity winners included:

  • Large Varsity Hip Hop (17 or more members): Coral Reef High School—Miami, Fla.
  • Large Varsity Pom (17 or more members): Floyd Central High School—Floyd’s Knob, Ind.
  • Large Varsity Jazz (17 or more members): Coral Reef High School –Miami, Fla.

Dance Team Medium Varsity winners included:

  • Medium Varsity Hip Hop (13-16 members): Westmoore High School –Oklahoma City, Okla.
  • Medium Varsity Pom (13-16 members): St. Thomas More Catholic School—Lafayette, La.
  • Medium Varsity Jazz (13-16 members): Westmoore High School—Oklahoma City, Okla.

Dance Team Small Varsity winners included:

  • Small Varsity Hip Hop (7-12 members): Academy of the Holy Angels—Demarest, N.J.
  • Small Varsity Pom (7-12 members): Los Alamitos High School—Los Alamitos, Caif.
  • Small Varsity Jazz (7-12 members): Eastern High School—Louisville, Ky.
  • Varsity High Kick: Seminole High School –Sanford, Fla.

More than 50,000 spectators attended the national championship events, with performances at five different venues within the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex on the grounds Walt Disney World® Resort.

It was recently announced that Varsity Spirit and ESPN Wide World of Sports are teaming up to create the first venue in the world specifically designed for cheerleading and dance team competitions. The venue will seat up to 8,000 spectators and will include a flexible design for one large competition space that can be set up for as many as four competition areas. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others and keep the conversation on topic and civil. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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