Local cheerleading program prepares to conquer the D2 summit

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SAN LUIS OBISPO — Central Coast Gymnastics, a local cheerleading training facility, recently announced that two of their teams were selected to compete at one of the nation’s most prestigious cheerleading competitions for small gyms, the D2 Summit, produced by Varsity All Star.

This will be the second year in a row and third time overall that Central Coast Gymnastics and coach Aly Mantell will be sending a team to the D2 Summit, but the first time they will be sending two different teams. This year Central Coast Elite (CCE) will be sending an advanced team, Code Red, that will be competing at the restricted 5 level and is mostly made up of the same team that went to D2 last year and a newer team in Senior Silver that will be competing at level one.

Both of the teams are made up of a collection of girls, and even one boy, from local schools all over the county with athletes coming from as far north as Paso Robles and as far south as Santa Maria to meet in San Luis Obispo to train about four times a week.

Held at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at the Walt Disney World Resort May 10-12, the D2 Summit is the season-capping goal for many competitive All Star teams. Gyms that compete in Division 2 or D2 only train 125 athletes or less annually. Modeled on Division II universities that tend to have fewer students than Division 1 schools. The 2018 D2 Summit showcased over 1,000 teams and 24,000 competitors from across the United States.

“Teams competing at the D2 Summit must receive a bid at a prior competition to be eligible to participate,” says Brian Elza, Co-General Manager for Varsity All Star, which is comprised of multiple All Star Competition brands under the Varsity Sports umbrella. “That’s what makes The D2 Summit so rewarding for competitors. If they don’t climb their way to the top throughout their season, they won’t make it to the Summit.”

Unlike stunt, that is made up of a bunch of little routines, the teams heading for Orlando this Sunday have one routine that lasts 2 minutes and 30 seconds that they perfect all year long. However, in preparation for the D2 Summit, both teams just finished putting the final touches on their revamped routines as they look for a slight edge at the biggest competition of the year.

All Star cheerleading is a discipline of cheerleading that is open to all ages and skill levels and both teams from Central Coast Gymnastics personify that as they each have athletes as young as 12 all the way up to a pair of 19-year-old athletes on the Code Red team.

While team Code Red was more or less expected to make it back to the D2 Summit after qualifying last year, Senior Silver was unsure if they would earn a bid at the end of their season.

“Our main priority this year was really just to get through the season doing our absolute best with no goal,” Atascadero Greyhound and Senior Silver athlete Genevieve Gilham said, but just before they went on stage at their last competition they found out they were the second-highest rated team and with the team in front of them already going to the D2 Summit the girls had a chance and capitalized.

Central Coast Elite Senior Silver and Code Red will be competing May 10-12. Fans at home can watch a live stream of the event on Varsity TV on Varsity.com


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