Cheerleading gym tries to stay positive amid COVID-19 cancellations

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OSAGE BEACH - Show Me Athletics will not be competing at the D2 Summit at Disney World this season, despite qualifying for the biggest cheerleading tournament in the country in its first year as a gym.

With Disney World being closed indefinitely due to COVID-19, the D2 Summit has been postponed for the foreseeable future. Two weeks ago, head coach and general manager Lance Marriott made the decision to pull the team from the competition. 

"We had a couple of new dates that were suggested early in the quarantine, and knowing our athletes and our parents, it wasn't realistic for our program," Marriott said. "There are quite a few gyms across the country that are unfortunately making the same decision." 

Despite COVID-19 effectively ending the gym's first season, Marriott's plans for season number two haven't changed yet. 

"Currently, we're still planning on having tryouts on May 21, provided that everything stays the same with the quarantine situation," Marriott said. "We are planning for the possibility that we may have to move those dates if the quarantine is extended, so we're playing it by ear like everyone else." 

The team hasn't met face to face since March 12. Marriott and other coaches have set up virtual meetings, such as Facebook Live workouts, but don't encourage their athletes to try too many difficult moves at home. 

"Safety is a main concern," Marriott said. "We are in a very high-rate injury sport and we don't want to add to that with unsupervised instruction. I don't let my athletes go upside down when I'm not with them or able to spot them." 

Even though the start date and duration of next season is still in question, the gym still has the same goal.

"The goal is always going to be to go to Summit, and we're very optimistic that we're going to see that opportunity again," Marriott said. "We're obviously disappointed but we're not deterred or disheartened. We're moving forward and staying competitive with the goal of getting back to the top of the Summit next year."