The Wilmington junior midget Bengals made history this weekend. "I cried," said eleven-year-old cheerleader Bridgett Watts. "I was so happy, I cried." "Just great!" added teammate Jaylen Redington. "It was very, very good." On Friday the Bengals placed second out of seven teams in the regional cheerleading championships in Charlotte. That means they're the first team in the local organization's history to qualify for nationals in Orlando, Florida. "I'm proud of all of them," said Coach Mendy Bianco. "They did really good." Bianco has coached the Bengals for the past six years. She says this team's work ethic is the key to their success. "They're dedicated. One hundred percent," Bianco said. "They really are. Just coming to practice...they always are at practices. They always are at games and they just work really hard." For the past few months, the eleven to fourteen year olds have practiced three nights a week and cheered at pee-wee football games every saturday. This is Amber Chandler's second year as a Bengal. She says all the hard work has paid off. "We've obviously practiced more this year and we have a lot more spirit and expression," Chandler said. "There's not a lot of drama," said Bridgett Watts. "I mean everybody's gonna have conflicts and stuff but we always get through them and stuff and we work as a team." Team members say that now they just need to stay focused and keep their eyes on the prize. "We have to get our stunts straight, everybody locks their legs, we're loud, we stay in center," Amber Chandler said. "It takes a lot of work." "You just have to think positive and be yourself really," said Jaylen Redington. "They're dedicated girls, a good group of girls and they deserve it," said Bianco. The Bengals will head to Disney World for the national tournament on December 3rd.
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