Best friends shared the pleasure of taking home a national award from a recent cheerleader competition.
Emily Leader and Lauren Willard, both of Miami, are members of the Rockets squad at Planet Cheer in Joplin, Mo.
Their team, with 20 participants, won the super national award at the 2-day long Jam Fest Cheerleader Super National competition held in Indianapolis, Ind., earlier this month.
This entitles them to participate in the United States nationals in Kansas City, Mo., in April.
Before that, they will participate in competitions in Tulsa and Branson, Mo.
Nearly 500 squads competed at the Jam Fest with 13 squads on the level of Leader and Willard.
Leader, 10, is the daughter of Lisa and Douglas Leader.
Willard, 9, is the daughter of Chad and Misty Willard.
Both attend Rockdale Elementary School where Leader is a fifth grader and Willard is a third grader.
"Cheerleading is a fun sport," Leader said. "I like doing flips."
"I started doing cheerleading because my friend was doing it," Willard said. "I really love doing it."
Both their mothers were high school cheerleaders.
"The girls spend a lot of time working on their cheerleading," said Lisa Douglas. "They’re real athletes."
Kindyl Wells is coach and owner of Planet Cheer.