Pop Warner cheer team rebuilds

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ESCONDIDO, Ca. - Escondido Pop Warner's Big Bad Wolves cheer team has been qualified to compete in the National Competition in Florida next month, but needs funding to get there.

The organization was struck with hard financial times over the last couple of years. In 2011, the group's former treasurer, Carrie Marie Richardson, embezzled $100,000 before moving to the east coast.

She was arrested in Maine in 2012, but the damage to the Escondido Pop Warner group had already been done.

"During that time, and the year after that, we had all of 6 cheerleaders and that was it in the whole program... They were talking about scrapping the whole cheer program for Escondido Pop Warner altogether," Ashly Mellor, head cheer coach, said.

Several years later, with the help of other local Pop Warner groups, the Escondido organization has been able to rebuild. The coaches are eager to move on past that difficult time.

"I'm just so glad to see them succeed. I'm so glad to see their smiles and how much this means to them," assistant cheer coach, Amanda Anderberg said.

The Big Bad Wolves cheer team recently won first place in the divisional competition during the Palomar Conference.

"[Now we're up to] 40 cheerleaders and we took this team from a non-competitive level to working with nationals. That's unheard of," Mellor said.

The cheer team made up of 8 to 11 year-olds is now qualified to compete in the December 8th National Competition in Florida. They need to raise $20,000 to make the trip happen.

"The organization has just grown, it's blossomed from nothing. We're trying to teach them good life choices to make. We're trying to teach them to grow up and be a responsible adults and to be kind to each other, and give back to your community," Mellor explained.

Help send the Escondido BBW squad to Florida by clicking here.