COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - A stellar season for the United Cheerleading Timor Python team ends in spectacular fashion as the squad returned from Central Florida to the Fountain City last weekend.
Back inside the gym, an outsider could say it was another average practice for coach Mandy Hood and the Level Two team.
However, both Hood and the squad will tell anyone, they are not average, at least, not anymore.
"The fight that they had, the drive that they had, the belief they had in each other this past weekend," Hood said, "is the reason they won Summit."
In the cheerleading world, the Summit National Championship could be considered the biggest event in the country; a challenge hosted every year at the ESPN Wide World of Sports complex in Orlando, Florida.
"Teams fight really hard to get bids to the Summit," Hood said. A team can only compete at Summit if they receive either a paid or at-large bid, and there are different divisions for each skill level.
For the past six years, Hood said, the Timor Pythons have received a bid to Summit.
On May 5-6, the Pythons strutted their stuff, challenging rival teams from across the country and the world for a spot in the Top 10 on Sunday.
"It's been a goal of ours to go out there," said team member Tori Kendrick, "...at least hit the routine two days in a row, or make it to the next day, and come home with the ring."
In the end, the Pythons came out on top, earning a final score of 98.6 out of a possible 100.
That number sealed their win in their division and crowned them champions for the first time ever.
A season's journey was all worth it for the athletes and the person guiding them through it all.
"I know I have fun with my girls and boys," Kendrick said, "and just feel like a family out there."
"This squad is special in so many ways," Hood said. "I can not imagine life without these kids."