Members of Odyssey Athletics “Zeus” team that will be going to The Cheerleading Worlds. | Courtesy Odyssey Athletics
IDAHO FALLS — A local all-star cheer team has made program history after being invited to compete in a popular cheerleading competition for its first-time.
Odyssey Athletics, which was founded in 2020 by husband and wife Ryley and Madison Nelson, is based out of Idaho Falls. Next week, the program’s Senior Coed Level 6 Team known as “Zeus” will take the stage at The Cheerleading Worlds. The event is held at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at the Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida, on April 21 to April 24.
“This is the most prestigious cheerleading competition in the world,” Madison explained. “It’s a world championship so there are teams from multiple countries.”
The Zeus team is made up of 11 athletes — nine girls and two boys — ranging from 13 to 19 years old. Ryley said teams had to qualify at a previous event and receive an invitation to the world championship. Odyssey Athletics received its invite in January.
“Our world’s team is competing at the highest level our area has ever seen,” Madison said. “We’re (also) the youngest program in southeast Idaho.”
Only one other program in Idaho has gone to The Cheerleading Worlds, and they’ve been around for nearly 30 years, Madison added. She said it was Idaho Cheer in Boise, and they first attended the event in 2021.
It hasn’t been an easy road to get to where Zeus is right now, but Madison and Ryley are proud of how the team “progressed … and pushed the boundaries.”
“Each time they’ve hit that competition floor, they’ve gotten more comfortable and more confident,” Ryley explained. “They’ve grown into even more than they could have imagined.”
Members of Odyssey Athletics Zeus team. | Courtesy Odyssey Athletics
The owners believe east Idaho has been “slow” when it comes to cheerleading and creating opportunities for athletes. They hope community members will see what Odyssey Athletics is accomplishing and will want to be part of it.
“It’s been everyone’s favorite thing to say we live in too small of a town (and) there’s not a big enough pool of athletes, so there’s no way you guys are going to be able to do this,” Madison said. “It’s been fun to watch the naysayers be wrong about that.”
One of Odyssey Athletic’s goals is to become a national competitor, and attending this competition is the first step in getting there, according to Ryley and Madison.
“A lot of people dream of going (to this competition), but only the top few get to actually experience it,” Ryley said. “It’s those 11 against the world, and they deserve the world.”
Zeus is also ranked third in the coed team in the western region, which includes Oregon, Washington, California, Nevada, Arizona, Utah, Wyoming and Montana. The team will be recognized with an award for this accomplishment while in Florida.
Athletes at Odyssey Athletics. | Courtesy Odyssey Athletics
The post Local all-star cheer team headed to ‘prestigious’ competition appeared first on East Idaho News.