Area middle schoolers take home top prize at international cheer competition

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AKRON, Ohio-- Manchester Middle School near Akron put on quite a show this past weekend in Orlando.

“We worked three days a week. And we would work in the hallways at the middle school and we would go to Perfect Balance," said Reese Sanford, seventh grader.

Six seventh-grade students competed in the AmeriCheer International Championship. They were one of 80 teams competing to bring home the top prize.

“It was pretty amazing because we are just like a little team and it was a really good experience," Abby White said.

The girls qualified for the competition by winning the Hiram Cheer Camp automatic bid last summer.

“We had to go against three other high school teams," Kate Cister said. "We had to beat them out. And we had the overall score and we beat them to go to Disney,"

The girls held several fundraisers throughout the city. They raised $10,000 to pay for their trip to the Sunshine state.

“Just a big thank you, without them we wouldn’t be able to go," Morgan Kunselman said.

The girls left Florida with more than just a suntan and a trip to see Mickey Mouse. They left with the top prize: the best seventh grade cheer team in the world.

“We were all real surprised with how we did because that was the best we’ve ever did," Olivia Paljich said.

World Champions. It has a nice ring to it especially for kids that are just 12 and 13 years old.

“It was really fun and a great experience and stuff," Melanie Pederzolli said.

Perhaps they can repeat next year as eighth graders.