Westlake High School cheer wins national championship

Westlake High School's cheer team took top honors at the 2014 National High School Championships, posting its second consecutive win in the event's Super Varsity Division 1 category—for schools with more than 1,600 enrolled students.

The competition, produced by the Universal Cheerleaders Association, was held Feb. 8–9 at Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Fla.

Westlake's team competed in the South Texas Region championship in November, placing first and qualifying for January's Texas Cheerleading Championship, Head Coach Jeff Nixon said. At the state competition, the squad placed second, missing the top spot by less than a point to Laredo United High School, but qualifying for last week's national championship, he said.

The team was one of 27 squads selected for the semi-final competition on Saturday and placed first among 14 teams in Sunday's final round, Nixon said. The competition consisted of a routine set to music as well as a traditional cheer segment, he said.

"I knew we had a talented squad but I didn't know how competitive we would be until we saw the competition," Nixon said.

This is the fourth year of cheer competition for the Westlake team, said Nixon who accepted the school's head coach position in 2009. Prior to 2011, the team cheered at games but did not compete, he said.

"[In 2011] the program was already really strong," Nixon said. "[Competition] is just another avenue for these athletes to be pushed to the next level."

He said team members practice two hours a day, Monday through Friday, and support school athletes at football, volleyball, basketball and other sport events.