Cheer Athletics began in the spring of 1994 when co-founders Jody Melton and Angela Rogers began their first practice with 2 athletes at a local park in Plano, TX. While our beginnings may have been small, the goal was huge - build the largest, most prestigious all-star program in the country. Within weeks we had added new athletes, rented space at a "real" gym (the now-defunct Cheerobics Center in Richardson, TX), and started entering competitions. Things began to pick up by the spring of 1995 as Cheer Athletics had won its first national title in the NCA Open Division. Coached and choreographed by Jody, with help from Angela and future CA coaches, the Texas All-Stars (later known as the Cheetahs) was the first NCA Open Division National Champion. Not only was this our first national title, it was the first victory for Cheer Athletics at any competition.
The 1995-96 season brought many new challenges. CA was growing in leaps and bounds, and we had more than tripled in size since nationals. Kristi Schimpf and Brandon Brock joined the staff as lead choreographer and tumbling coach for CA's 3 main teams Panthers, Tigers, Jags. CA now had a total of 58 athletes and was tasting its first success at local and regional competitions. In an effort to further the image and increase our name recognition, CA needed a logo that was recognizable around the country. "When people see our logo, I want them to immediately think of Cheer Athletics and associate us with being the absolute best," Jody explained. After hours of work on the computer, the original CA Claw was born.
Brad Habermel and Gianni DeNegri joined the CA coaching staff in 1996 and brought a winning experience and coaching knowledge that was needed with CA's five teams: Cats, Jags, Tigers, Panthers, and Wildcats. CA was becoming more and more well known and imitated. The traditional CA cheer debuted at the 1997 NCA All-Star Nationals and has become a part of the legacy of Cheer Athletics.
By now, CA was the largest program in the country with 8 teams: Cats, Jags, Tigers, Sabres, Cougars, Panthers, Wildcats, and Cheetahs. Despite our size and growing reputation, we still had no place to call our own. We had been renting out space in various gyms in the area: Cheerobics, Southwest Gymnastics, and the NCA SuperCenter. Plans were made in 1997 to begin looking for the CA gym. By the spring of 1998, Cheer Athletics moved into its own practice facility; a former baseball training center just down the street from NCA's main offices. After moving mounds of dirt and painting over the lime green walls, Cheer Athletics finally had its own 14,000 square foot home.
As Cheer Athletics expanded, there were now 13 teams in the CA Family: KittyKats, Cats, Jags, Bengals, Bobcats, Tigers, Thundercats, Sabres, Bearcats, Panthers, Pumas, Wildcats, and Cheetahs. Interested in this up-and-coming program, the New York Times Production Company sent a film crew to feature two Cheer Athletics teams in a documentary, "On the Inside: Cheerleading" which aired the Discovery Channel.
Cheer Athletics continued to grow at a startling pace. Soon, we had outgrown our gym and were looking for another. After months of searching, Cheer Athletics moved into its current facility in April 2000. We now had the largest state-of-the-art cheerleading training center in the country. The facility would be large enough to hold all 4 gyms that CA had trained in previously. CA also added 2 more teams to the rosters: KittyKubs and Cubs. Through continued hard work by athletes and coaches, Cheer Athletics had claimed over 30 team titles by the conclusion of the 1999-2000 season.
The 2000-2001 season began with a bang. 350 athletes participated in tryouts for the all-star teams. Two more teams were born into the CA family: Kittens and FierceKatz. Not only was the CA family still growing, but also the skill level of each athlete was improving even faster than before. This was largely due to the strong coaching staff and the equipment that was available for every athlete to utilize. The 2000-2001 season was our strongest ever and we brought our team national championship total to 53, which included wins in many of the toughest divisions at the toughest nationals.
This season was the strongest year in our program's history. With a great tryout and camp (again at sunny Galveston) we were off and running. We had actually made the tough decision to cut down the number of teams this year in order to better be able to focus on the athletes and the performances. This really helped us throughout the year at the various competitions. We had planned to compete across the country, with trips to both the east coast and west coast. That changed with the tragic events of September 11. We decided to take a year off from flying and traveling and focus on the competitions in Texas. This paid off in a big way, as we won more national titles than any other program has ever won in a single year. We won 7 divisions at NCA - beating our own record of 4 in a single season. We also won the NCA Grand Championship for the third year in a row. With titles at ACA, American Championships, Cheer America, and Cheer Power, we brought home a staggering 33 team national championship titles during this single season, bringing our overall total to 86. (Team championships only, this does not reflect a large number of individual, partner stunt, and group stunt titles)
02-03 was another incredible year for the athletes at Cheer Athletics. As the world of All-Star Cheerleading grows and grows, we have to work even harder to stay on top. An amazing season with 30 national championships helped CA retain its crown as the top program in the world. We take our overall title count to 116 - despite going to fewer national competitions than the year before. We set several marks for excellence this year. The Jags won their 6th NCA National Championship in a row - the first cheerleading program in history to reach that mark. The Panthers won the NCA Grand Championship with a 9.77, giving CA the coveted Grand Champion trophy. (CA has won each year of the award's four year history.) Bengals also won NCA for the second year in a row and Wildcats win for the 3rd time - giving them the Large Coed title more times than any current program. Our two open teams each placed second with amazing routines. It is interesting to note that EACH coed open team had at least one former CA athlete on it. There were also CA Alumson the top 3 All-Girl open teams. CA Athletes continue to excel even after their days with us.
This year was the most successful year to date, with a record 39 National Titles in a single year. Every regular team came away with at least one national championship during this amazing season. Jags continued their amazing streak by winning their 7th NCA National Championship in a row. Bengals also extended their streak to an impressive 3 in a row. This year also marked a historic event in cheerleading. CA was invited to the inaugural USASF World Championships. This competition was open to top finishers in major national competitions during the season. The athletes competed against the top teams in the country and won the first-ever World Championship. The addition of 2 strong coaches had a huge impact on the success of the athletes. Joe O'Toole and Jason McMahan had each been the directors of their respective all-star programs prior to coming to Cheer Athletics and each brought with them a wealth of knowledge and experience. Our strong coaching staff, combined with the great facility, really helps our athletes achieve their true potential
After the 03-04 season, CA finally outgrew the Hillguard location. We searched for months to find the perfect combination of location and facility and finally settled on the 1st Street complex. With 40,000 square feet of "pure" gym space, plus a spacious office area and lobby we had found the perfect spot. Moving and setting up all of equipment took hundreds of man hours, but the result was fantastic - the largest, most state-of-the-art cheer facility in the world!
Our largest and most successful tryout to date yielded a fantastic set of teams for the 05-06 season. New athletes and even some new coaches helped CA achieve the top season in history. A boatload of national titles and an unprecedented 3 World Championships at the USASF Worlds in April put Cheer Athletics alone at the top of the All-Star world. No program has had more National or World Championships in the toughest divisions at the toughest competitions.
It is always a challenge to remain on top. There are thousands of quality all-star programs looking for ways to take our place; therefore, we are constantly striving to keep Cheer Athletics the King of the All-star Jungle. To do this, we provide for our athletes a facility and coaching staff that matches our slogan "the best of the best."