Local Team... National Champs!

<p>Elite Force Cheer</p>

Elite Force Cheer

A local cheer squad wins a presitigous title and returns from Florida with a coveted trophy.

Twenty-four girls on the Elite Force Cheer group from Mid-Columbia Gymnastics Academy are thrilled with their win, and gearing up for the next one.

They danced, arabesqued, twisted and flipped up in the air, and it all seemed so effortless!

The Elite Force Cheer program is made up of all-star athletes, ages 10 - 18.

The team competes at local, regional and national competitions and the majority of them are recruited by collegiate cheer teams each year.   

Last weekend they won the 2013 Universal Cheerleader Association Championship held at Disneyworld, beating out everyone else for the large group - all girl - division.

Director and Coach Beth Millard says practicing up to 10 hours or more a week for 11 months gets them in shape, but she says it's teamwork and a respectful attitude that gives them an edge.

"They're supportive of each other. If somebody is sick, they are encouraging them, somebody is tired or sad... They truly love each other. I like watching them grow and being champs with integrity," said Millard.

The teams must be invited to qualify for this division's competition, which takes place each year in Florida.

The coach said that many of these girls have been at the academy for years, and have become like family.

Other divisions from the Mid-Columbia Academy will be heading out to Portland this weekend for the Pac-West Championship.