FAIRFIELD COUNTY, Conn. – Norwalk-based Xtreme Cheer teams tuned up for the national competition by winning three divisions and finishing second in another last weekend at the Star Spangled Showdown in Springfield, Mass.
Xtreme’s winners included Shine, an 18-and-under girls team; Blaze, an 18-and-under co-ed team; and Inferno, a co-ed team for cheerleaders ages 14 and up. Shimmer, a 14-and-under girls team, finished second.
The results were a good tuneup for Xtreme as its prepares to compete in the U.S. Spirit National Championships this weekend in Orlando, Fla. Shimmer is the defending champion in the competition, which includes the best teams in the United States. Xtreme’s delegation this weekend will include nearly 100 cheerleaders and nearly 100 more friends and family members.
The surprise from the Massachusetts meet was Inferno, a 24-member team that is in its first year of competition. Mike Talbot, who owns Xtreme with his wife, Dana, is one of the members of the team.
“The judges said they were thoroughly impressed with our international level 5 team,’’ Dana Talbot said. “That’s really unusual that you get that kind of compliment in the first year of competition with an international team.”
Inferno got a boost from recent addition Alex Birch, who made her competitive debut with Xtreme.
“She’s an extraordinary tumbler, and it gave our program a big lift,’’ Talbot said.
Blaze also had a banner meet, rallying from third place after the first day of competition to capture the championship. “They were great on the second day,’’ Talbot said.
The teams now head to Florida, where Dana Talbot believes all of the teams could be contenders. She is particularly encouraged by the Inferno, which could earn a bid to The Cheerleading Worlds with a strong showing.
“That would be an incredible achievement for them,” Talbot said.