The Prior Lake cheerleading teams capped of their seasons in Orlando, Florida April 23-25.

The Lakers were competing in the annual UCA National Cheer Championships with the varsity team taking first place in the non-tumbling game day division and in the medium varsity non-tumbling traditional comp division.

The junior varsity squad earned a fourth-place finish in the small tumbling division.

It’s the first time the Prior Lake cheerleading program has won a title at the championships and the first time the junior varsity made the top four.

Members of the Lakers varsity team include Kylee Gehrke, Lauren Domer, Piper Morris, Pam Trinh, Amanda Norby, Morgan Mittag, Macy Sheffield, Gemma Gilbertson, Ella Thorson, Kaylin Buckingham, Carly Copeland, Josie Bahe, Sophia Lewis, Lydia Swenson, Brenna Keil, Riley Martin, Morgan Erickson, Taylor Lolling, Lily Courteau and Mackenzie Henning.

The head coach is Bridget Ortner and the assistants are Maddie Bills, Kayla Muinde and Karsten Gonzales.

Members of the junior varsity squad are Morgan Nemecek, Ella Arbach, Kate Kucera, Madi Pickenpack, Sadie Kettelkamp, Haddie MacGillivray, Stella Dileva, Summer Scholl, Lindsey Clark, Shelby Goddard, Lindsay Higgins, Kyla Nauertz, Carly Copeland, Payton Soukup and Reese Guggemos

The junior varsity coach is Kathleen Stein and the assistants are Megan Sumiejski, Natalie Moran and Peter Dring.

The road to nationals

Back in late February, the Lakers took home a pair of state titles at Minnesota Cheerleading Coaches Association Championships.

The varsity team won the Class AA non-tumbling division and was also runner-up in the non-tumbling game day division. The junior varsity were champs in the tumbling division.

Prior Lake qualified for the national championships back in October in the 10,000 Lakes Regional competition. The varsity won their two divisions, as did the junior varsity, to secure bids.

Last season, Prior Lake’s traditional squad finished third in the medium varsity, non-tumbling division at nationals, while the game day team was fifth. It was the first time the program made it to the finals.

Prior Lake’s junior varsity squad also competed at nationals last year in traditional and game day and were semifinalists (top 12) in both.

Tom Schardin covers sports for Savage and Prior Lake. He is dependable, sarcastic and always joking around. Tom enjoys running and swimming and is often busy coaching his two kids' sports teams.