Shelton cheer squad brings home national championship

SHELTON - A season of COVID and quarantines could not stop one city cheerleading squad from rolling to a national title earlier this month.

The D14 team, part of the Shelton Youth Football and Cheer program, was one of three city teams to travel to the national competition at the Silver Spurs Arena in Orlando, Fla., from Dec. 8 to 12.

“The girls had come off a year of no competition due to COVID and just wanted some normalcy back in their lives,” D14 coach Courtney Aurora said. “The majority of girls started in the program at 6 years old and wanted to finish their eighth-grade year strong.”

The girls had been practicing since July and persevered through a season marked by quarantines and other challenges, eventually finishing the season undefeated, Aurora said.

“I am proud of everything they have accomplished, both on the competition mat and off as a team,” she said.

The D14 team, which competes in the Small Level 3 division, won first place in the local, state and regional competitions before heading to Florida.

The D10 team, a small level 1 squad, placed first at locals and states, second at regionals and fifth at nationals. The D12 squad, a small level 2, placed first at locals and states and second in both regionals and nationals.

“Our athletes become a family,” said Patti Prodan, Shelton’s vice president of cheer. “They count on each other and trust each other on the cheer mat. Without the trust and bond, they build they would not be so successful.”

Prodan said the teams practice three times a week throughout the season. As a league, she said teams have competed and advanced to nationals since 2012 and have brought home at least one national championship trophy every year since.

The city’s success is a testament to the athletes and coaches, who are all volunteers, she said.

“We have a very devoted coaching staff that works hard to bring out the best in our athletes and our athletes work hard for their coaches,” she said.

Prodan became an assistant coach for her daughter’s tiny mite team in 2012 and became cheer vice president in 2014.

“Our parents are amazing with making sure the girls get to practices and are where they need to be and do whatever we ask of them,” Prodan said.

Shelton Youth Football and Cheer also has a non-compete D8/tiny mite division for children up to second grade to learn the fundamentals of cheer, with exhibitions at local and state competitions. All teams also cheer together on Sundays for the city’s youth football teams.