Waukesha South High School's varsity cheerleaders head to nationals

NOW: Waukesha South High School’s varsity cheerleaders head to nationals

WAUKESHA, Wis. (CBS 58) -- Waukesha South High School is back in the national spotlight -- this time, for the accomplishments of their varsity cheerleading squad. 

South's cheerleaders earned their way into the semi-finals for the Universal Cheerleaders Association competition. 

Fifteen students will board a plane early morning, Florida-bound.

It's the night before the big trip, and the practices haven't stopped because this is so important to them.

"We've worked so hard. During Covid times, we were working with masks which is very difficult to breathe and tumble at the same time," said senior Lexi Ouradnik. 

The team has a good record already. Their co-ed routine is undefeated in Wisconsin. They'll be taking that, plus a lot of tumbling and their game day routine to nationals.

"We're really excited about the game day routine, specifically because it's really a homage to South. It includes our school fight song that our band recorded for us, so it's extra special this year given everything that's been going on," said coach Marissa Hernandez.

When times were tough following the horrendous Waukesha parade tragedy, this team leaned into each other.

"The team is just so like a family, they are a family. They love to win together. They love to be together all the time and they truly deserve it," said assistant coach Correnda Ries.

Jayden Ranieri was at the parade. She pulled her little sister back as the SUV went speeding by.

"We were just sitting there and I was watching my little sister dance, be a little kid, and you just see this SUV going by and I didn't know what to think," Ranieri said. "And then you see the SUV hitting all these people and you're like oh my gosh, this is actually happening, like my sister just almost died in front of my eyes."

Now, nearly three months later, the Blackshirts hope to bring back a win for Waukesha.

"We've been waiting for this, like we're ready to go there and take over," Ranieri said.

Waukesha South qualified for the semi-finals on Saturday. If they score high enough, they'll go to the finals on Sunday.

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