The Coronavirus (COVID-19) has led to the cancellations of major sporting events across the United States, including the NCA and NDA Collegiate Cheer and Dance National Championship. And that means, Daytona 2020 is canceled. On Sunday, Cheer stars reacted to the cancellation of the Daytona Championship, expressing their disappointment at missing out on the opportunity to compete.
Varsity Spirit announced a decision to cancel all scheduled events for the next eight weeks of the 2020 season on Sunday, which includes the Daytona Championship scheduled for April 8 to 12, as per E! News. "The CDC just announced their recommendation to cancel or postpone events with 50 or more people for the next eight weeks," a statement on the company's website read. "We have made the decision to not proceed as planned with scheduled events for at least the next eight weeks of the 2020 competition season."
The organization promised to look into changing the season schedule, meaning teams like the Navarro squad, who starred in Netflix's Cheer, might have a future opportunity to compete. Varsity Spirit added in their statement: "We are actively exploring all options, including rescheduling events, extending the competition season, and hosting virtual competitions."
Event cancellations can be heartbreaking for students who trained hard for a competition. And the Navarro squad is no exception. On Sunday, Cheer star La'Darius Marshall posted a video of the Navarro Squad on Instagram reacting to the news. "This isn’t goodbye Navarro 2020 it’s see you later. Daytona you will be missed and greatly appreciated," he wrote.
Marshall added that the, "end of my cheerleading career has come a bit early" and its impossible not to be "heartbroken" for the team and coaches. The cheerleading star also expressed love and support for his teammates, writing, "Long live the bright light we all shared together."
Navarro cheer coach Monica Aldama commented on the Marshall's Instagram post, writing, "My heart is breaking!!!! I love you forever!!!!" Aldama also reacted to the Daytona cancellation on Instagram, posting a photo of herself looking wistful on a balcony. She captioned the picture, "Deep thoughts....#DaytonaDreaming."
Team member Shannon Woolsey mourned the cancellation on Instagram, sharing a picture of herself backstage at The Ellen DeGeneres Show. "im typing this with uncontrollable tears running down my face," she wrote in the caption. "i never could have imagined the season ending like this." Woolsey added that she was grateful for her community and the experience despite its abrupt end, writing, "thanking this program extremely for shaping me into the person i am today, and for being my home away from home."
Teammate Dillon Brandt shared his thoughts on the news on Instagram as well, writing, "Daytona is officially cancelled....as it breaks my heart to type this out.....it’s over." He added a positive note about his experience on Navarro College Cheer Team, writing, "I’m truly thankful for everything that has come from this...Dawgs are forever."
Other Cheer stars Jerry Harris, Gabi Butler, and Lexi Brumback have yet to comment on the cancellation news, but it seems likely such a major change in the cheer season will be difficult to swallow after all that training and work. It's not yet clear if Netflix planned to air a second season of Cheer, or if changes to the championship schedule would impact filming. Hopefully for the competitors sake, a second season, or at least the opportunity to compete in a virtual event, will be possible.
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