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Raleigh Pee Wee Players, Cheerleaders Prepare for National Championship

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RALEIGH — Local Pee Wee players are headed to the national championship next week, and this year they are not going alone. Local cheerleaders have scored the trip on their own.

For the second year in a row, Wilders Grove Coach Bernard Freeman has lead his scrappy team of 9- and 10-year-olds to the Pop Warner national championship at Disney World.

The Junior Pee Wee Wolfpack is good, but nervous nonetheless.

"They're all big, and we're a small team," says running back Brandon Banks. "But, keep in mind, even though we're small, we have a lot of heart too."

A 14-0 record is carrying the boys to Orlando, where the top four Junior Pee Wee teams in the country will battle.

The Wilders Grove cheerleading team will accompany the football players, but not just for moral support. Their dancing and stunt precision have earned them the right to compete at the nationals as well.

In Virginia last weekend, the cheerleaders won Mid-South Regionals to join a field of 16 groups competing for the national title in their age group.

The Pop Warner Capital City Stealers cheerleaders are also going to Orlando next week to compete in the Junior Pee Wee division.

"I'm really happy that we're going, and I'm just really nervous," cheerleader Lexi Rudolph says.

Out of hundreds of youth football and cheerleading squads around the country, this East Raleigh youth center produced two of the very best. Unfortunately, success comes at a price.

The Wilders Grove Youth Center needs financial assistance to get the kids to Florida for next week's competition. If you would like to help them, you can call(919) 876-7987. Reporter: Cullen Browder


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