Stratford High School student Christine Podjursky will be heading to the United States next year after her cheerleading squad, Elite Cheer New Zealand, won the Downunder Spirit Championship held over the holidays in Australia.

The New Plymouth-based team's victory earned them a spot to compete at the cheerleading championships in Florida in March.

The 17-year-old started cheerleading at the beginning of this year. She says as a child she was enthralled by the cheerleading squads in movies and always wanted to join in. Being a gymnast for over 10 years provided an excellent platform.

The Midhirst farm girl says a friend introduced her to cheerleading with Elite Cheer.


``Ever since my first class, I have enjoyed it so much.''

The team also won a first in their division and placed second in cheer, while their stunt girls were top in their section.

Her future plans?

``To go to the American comp next year and bring home gold!''