The Panthers organization 14-and-under Fury cheerleading squad took first place in the Reach the Beach National Competition in Ocean City Feb. 26.
Panthers is an organization started by Chesapeake High School varsity cheerleading coach Lisa Freburger. It is a youth organization that offers competitive cheerleading, football and wrestling to youth in the Pasadena area.
The Panther cheerleading squads participated in the Ocean City tournament in February and the Fury squad was named National Champions. The team received a first-place surfboard and each team member and coach earned a white national championship jacket, according to Freburger.
The Panthers organization as a whole won the tournament’s sportsmanship award.
“Our organization came together to support one of our coaches that is currently in treatment for breast cancer,” said Freburger. “Every cheerleader and most all of our parents surprised her by wearing shirts that said, ‘Once you’re a Panther you never stand alone’ on the front and "TEAM CLAUDIA" on the back.”
The shirts combined with the Panthers attitude during competition led to them receiving the sportsmanship award.
“We made a huge statement to everyone attending the event, but most importantly supported a member of our family by giving her something to give her that extra push on her toughest days,” said Freburger.
The other Panther squads participating in the tournament finished as follows:
Tiny Paws 8-and-under: 2nd place
Force 10-and-under: 3rd place
Extreme 12-and-under: 2nd place