London-bound cheerleaders

Jordyn Taft supports Ayrianna Walters on her shoulders during a recent Ilwaco High School cheerleading practice. The student athletes earned a chance to participate in an overseas trip to England, which includes a public appearance with other American cheer squad members and tours of London.

ILWACO — Two Ilwaco cheerleaders are gearing up for an overseas adventure.

Jordyn Taft and Ayrianna Walters have earned places in a program that recruits the best cheerleaders in the nation. They will represent the United States in a New Year’s parade in London.

The trip includes a tour of the capital, taking in some of the highlights of one of the world’s most historical cities.

A couple of others from IHS qualified, but are not able to take the trip.

Cheerleading coach Claire Brunke was beaming with pride as she commended her squad members.

She said Taft and Walters earned their trip after performing with distinction at a cheerleading camp.

“It’s great,” their coach said. “They had to meet several criteria at camp this summer. They were judged based on their jump, cheer and dance.”

The two student athletes are bubbling with excitement.

Taft, a junior, said she and Walters will learn a new dance and ride on a float in the parade, which is usually televised.

Having never left the country, she is enthusiastic about traveling and performing during the trip, but has another unusual bucket-list item.

“I’m pretty excited to see Big Ben,” she said, when asked what she was looking forward to. “I am pretty excited to see all the landmarks and just tour the city. Big Ben? I don’t know why — I just really like it.”

Walters recalled that they were nervous when performing at camp.

“I am excited, too,” the 10th grader said. “I’m really ready to experience all of London.”

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