CHS cheerleaders to perform at Citrus Bowl
By JACKSON WILSON
Enquirer Democrat Reporter
Eight Carlinville High School cheerleaders have been chosen to perform during the Citrus Bowl at Camping World Stadium in Orlando.
Briana Sanchez, Sophia Ruffatto, Mia Verticchio, Peyton Dahler, Caroline Gibbel, Grace Wilton, Alyssa Carriker and Caylee McDaniels each received an invitation when they earned blue ribbons at their cheer and routine camps.
“We’ve had a crazy year and I’m so proud of these girls and all their hard work,” CHS cheer coach Erica Gibbel said in a Facebook post.
“We’ve got a great group of really hard-working girls,” Ruffatto said as she reflected on the Carlinville High School football campaign. “We’re lucky that they love cheer and that they want to succeed. If we didn’t have that, it would of made this season a lot harder for us. We aren’t just a team. We’re like a family. It makes what we do so much more fun.”
“I feel like we did a lot of hard work throughout the year within the school plus going to games and practices,” C. Gibbel said. “It was nice to have this to look forward to.”
At first, the girls thought that the dream wouldn’t be possible due to COVID.
“When we found out we were going, everybody was so happy,” C. Gibbel said. “We’re super excited.”
C. Gibbel was one of the CHS cheerleaders that went to Orlando two years ago. For others, like Sophia Ruffatto, this will be their first trip.
“When we all were under the impression that we wouldn’t be able to go this year, it was dissapointing,” Ruffatto said. “It was very exciting to hear that we get this ‘once in a lifetime’ opportunity.”
C. Gibbel and Ruffatto, are two seniors that get to end their football cheer careers in the national spotlight.
“It’s crazy to think that we’re going to be able to perform there, let alone just attend,” Ruffatto said.
The Citrus Bowl, which will be celebrating its 75th anniversary come New Year’s Day, has featured two of the top 25 college football teams in the country since 1985. The game is nationally televised on the American Broadcasting Channel (ABC) and has attracted over 14 million viewers over the past decade alone.
“The atmosphere there is super fun to be in,” C. Gibbel said. “It’s quite the experience.”
Despite the days being long and tiring, C. Gibbel said that they were worth it.
“We had early morning practices but we got to go to Disney World which was super fun,” C. Gibbel said. “I feel like the entire team got closer while we were on that trip.”
The CHS cheerleaders are currently attmepting to raise money to help offset the cost for meals and transportation.
“Any donation will help make an impact,” said E. Gibbel. “We thank everyone in advance for their contribution to our team. We are so excited to represent Carlinville.”
The Citrus Bowl kicks off at noon Sat., Jan. 1, 2022 on ABC.