HAMDEN, Conn. (WTNH) — A local cheerleading squad is taking off for Orlando, Florida this weekend and is hoping to bring home another championship from nationals.

The Hamden Pop Warner Cheerleaders are the defending champs. After missing a year due to COVID, they’ve been practicing on the mat four or five nights a week to get back to the sunshine state.

These 10-12-year-olds are a dedicated group and more than half the team was on the 2019 championship squad.

“When we get to this level of competition, the venues get bigger and bigger, the crowds get bigger and bigger and the pressure gets higher and higher, so those girls who have been there before and are a little bit older really have taken some of the younger ones and the newer girls under their wings,” said Margaret DiMauro, head coach.

“It’s really fun and exciting to be on this team,” said Cameron, one of the cheerleaders. “It’s really special definitely.”

The squad will compete on Wednesday.