It’s been a few years since Danielle Klein was on the MacArthur High School cheerleading team. But the memories aren’t fading from her memory anytime soon.
The alumna is now a junior on Sacred Heart University’s cheerleading squad. However, when she first committed to the Pioneers, she never thought she’d become a Division I champion.
So when Sacred Heart traveled to the UCA Nationals in Orlando, FL, she never expected to emerge as a national champion. That’s exactly what happened.
“It was surreal,” Klein said. “I never even expected to place in the top three. They kept calling names and we kept getting closer, and I just never expected this at all.
SHU ended the tournament with a 90.3/100 score in final round with eight other teams. Overall, there were 15 teams in their division, each battling for the Division I All-Girl title.
Now, Sacred Heart is finally a champion, and so is Klein.
“We are so proud to have earned this championship title,” SHU head coach CJ Sereno said in a statement from the university. “It is remarkable what our team has been able to accomplish this year. We truly have a special group of athletes. Their positive attitude, dedication, commitment and love for this program made the work all worth it. We never thought this was attainable. We’re dreaming with our eyes wide open.”
The MacArthur graduate was a key member of Sacred Heart’s championship-winning efforts. She has been competing on the Division I team since she was a freshman, serving as a side base and a main tumbler. She was also the post, a crucial position, in all of the pyramids throughout the tournament.
“We’ve been preparing for this moment since August,” Klein said. “Leading up to it, we wanted to make sure we hit on the mat. We weren’t focusing on a certain placement. All we wanted to do was hit and have no points coming off, which is exactly what we did. This is more than anything I could have ever asked for. I just can’t wait for next year’s Nationals.”
Klein got her start in gymnastics when she was just 3 years old, performing for 12 years. Once she arrived at MacArthur, she made the junior varsity team as a freshman, advancing to the varsity squad a year later.
To watch Sacred Heart’s winning performance, head to tv.varsity.com and search “Sacred Heart.”