Tauranga teenager Anna Grigson has lived, breathed and dreamed about cheerleading since she was introduced to the sport at age 5 by her former coach.

Last month she was a member of two of the three New Zealand teams which achieved glory at the International Cheer Union World Championships in Orlando Florida.

She and her fellow members of the New Zealand All-Girl Elite team tumbled, stunted and danced their way to a silver medal.

She was also a member of the Junior All-Girl Advanced team which won a bronze medal.


Anna, 15, helped New Zealand achieve its best ever results at the World Championships.

The New Zealand Co-Ed elite team also won bronze at the international competition which attracted about 25,000 competitors from 35 countries.

Each team had just two-and-half minutes to bring together a polished routine which included complicated jumps, stunts, dance and tumbling, Anna said.

Being the only Bay of Plenty cheerleader to be selected for the New Zealand representative teams, the results were doubly sweet for her.

Anna, who lived away from home for six months while she trained with the New Zealand squad in Auckland, said winning medals made the hours of gruelling practice worth it.

"I feel so proud to represent my country and I am so excited to bring my medals back to Tauranga."

Anna's parents and her 9-year-old sister Brooklyn, also a cheerleader, travelled to Florida to watch her compete.

This was not the first time Anna had competed on the world stage - at the 2016 World Championships at age 13, she competed as a member of an Australian team.


In 2016 and 2017, the bubbly teenager was the national solo champion in the sport.

Anna has become a role model for the 150 budding cheerleaders who are members of the Bay Twisters Club. The club was established by her mother about six years ago.

The Mount Maunganui College student trains and coaches younger members four to five days a week on top of her NCEA Level 1 school work.

Proud mum Rebecca said: "Anna and all the team have worked so hard to be able to compete at this level and achieved the results they richly deserved.

"Anna lives, breathes and dreams about cheerleading 24-7, and she has done so since she first introduced to the sport when she was 5," she said.

"Anna is not only dedicated to her sport but she is also a high achiever at school."

Anna, who only returned to Tauranga on Thursday after she also competed at the US All-Star Federation Worlds last month, walked straight back into training.

She dreams of one day competing and winning a gold medal at the Olympics but said she would also love to become a professional cheerleading coach.

"I love everything about it. The energy, the tumbling, the stunts, throwing people in the air, it's such a buzz. Team members are more friends, we're like one big family."