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UMaine cheerleading nationals canceled because of coronavirus, COVID-19 pandemic

UMaine cheer team was supposed to compete at nationals in Daytona Beach, Florida, but it was canceled due to coronavirus.

ORONO, Maine — Editor’s note: You are starting to hear the term ‘flattening the curve’ as a way to stem the tide of coronavirus cases. The above video explains what that means. 

This week, thousands of college cheer and dance teams were supposed to be heading to Daytona Beach, Florida, to compete at the NCA & NDA Collegiate National Championship, but because of coronavirus, it was canceled.

"It crushed my heart," said senior captain Celine Bolduc.

The University of Maine Cheer Team has competed at nationals for the last eighteen years and has placed in the top three spots for the last three years.

"People see us all year at football games and basketball games, but this one week is just about us," said senior captain Caley Godino.

The team starts preparing for nationals a year in advance and fundraises nearly $40,000 to go.

"They work all year to compete one time," said head coach Jewels Watson.

The team has one shot, one two minute routine, to prove themselves to the rest of the country.

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"It stinks. My heart breaks for them because there's not really anything past this," said Watson.

Seniors Celine Bolduc and Caley Godino have to let their love of cheering end.

"I feel like I had no closure," said Bolduc.

"I've been cheering since I was six. I never thought it would end this way," said Godino.

While the team will not feel the adrenaline of competing or experience the moment of winning a national title this year, they know the well being of everyone is most important.

"Everyone in the world's health and safety comes before cheerleading," said Watson.

All the money the team raised will roll over to next year's nationals.

RELATED: Colby College asking all students to move out by March 15; will begin remote classes after 2-week spring break

At NEWS CENTER Maine, we're focusing our news coverage on the facts and not the fear around the illness. To see our full coverage, visit our coronavirus section, here: /coronavirus

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