BYU cheerleader goes to world stage for the second time

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BYU cheerleader Anna Richey has been selected to represent the United States in the 2015 Cheerleading Worlds Championship in Orlando, Florida, for the second time.

Richey has been cheering competitively since a young age and is currently a senior captain on the BYU Spirit Squad. Her dream since the age of 16 has been to be on Team USA competing in the Super Bowl of cheerleading.

Participants trying out for this elite team are required to perform in a group. In 2014 Richey didn’t have a group to tryout with, but this didn’t stop her from chasing her dream. She requested to tryout individually and was given permission to do so.

Elliott Miller
BYU cheerleader Anna Richey poses during a morning practice with her teammates. (Elliott Miller)

“Opportunity didn’t come to her; she worked for it,” Sarah Richey, Richey’s younger sister, said of Richey’s pursuit of Team USA.

After five years of dreaming, the dream became a reality as Anna Richey was selected to represent the United States in the 2014 Cheerleading Worlds Championship, where she helped the U.S. to a first place finish. But after devoting a lifetime to cheerleading, one time was not enough for Richey.

“I wanted to do it again and get better, because you can always get better no matter how good you are,” Anna Richey said.

Cheerleading has played a huge role in the Richey family’s life. Anna Richey and her two younger sisters have been cheering competitively for years, even participating on the same squad many times. Her mother has only missed two of her competitions throughout her cheerleading career, and then only because she was attending her sister’s cheerleading competition on the same day.

“It was a huge time commitment. It was all I did, but I loved it. It was my life; it’s always been my life,” Anna Richey said. “I wouldn’t have been able to do it without the support of my parents.”

Cheering at BYU presented a new challenge in cheerleading for Anna Richey, who needed to make the transformation from competitive to collegiate cheerleading. The shift in style taught her more than just technique; she also learned more about herself. That growth pushed her toward becoming a talented athlete with the opportunity to represent her country on a world stage.

“She’s always wanting to improve. She’s not one of those kids that thinks she doesn’t have anything else to learn,” Spirit Squad coach Jocelyn Allan said. “Over the past four years she has skyrocketed, and that’s the type of effort that it takes to make Team USA, somebody who is never satisfied and it’s never good enough. She just wants to improve continually.”

During her time with BYU, Anna Richey has been able to grow as an athlete in ways she couldn’t with competitive cheer. She learned to look outside herself and focus more on others. She is the kind of person who is willing to share her skills and knowledge with others to help them improve and be better too, according to her coach.

“It has allowed me to build myself in different areas. It’s allowed to me to grow spiritually, personally, mentally and academically,” she said.

Anna Richey currently serves as captain of the BYU Spirit Squad. This opportunity has helped her focus on building up and strengthening her squad.

“She is very passionate and knows her stuff when it comes to cheer,” BYU Spirit Squad captain Sam Lund said. “She’s very talented and has given our team a higher level of skill.”

Cheerleading turned Anna Richey not only into a successful athlete but also into a dedicated, selfless and hardworking person.

“Anna is willing to put in extra work when others aren’t. A big part of her success is contributed to her work ethic,” Allan said. “She is selfless in that way, and it makes for a great cheerleader. She has changed the personality of the team for the better.”

Anna Richey has reached one of the highest levels of cheerleading because she had a dream and put in the time and effort to reach her goal. Her experiences and opportunities to grow, change and improve over her lifetime have made her into an athlete with a bright future as a representative of the United States.

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