By Niyah Martin, Intern
Floyd Middle Magnet School cheerleading coach, Torquoria Abner sets the example that hard work and dedication can bring about wonderful achievements. Due to her impeccable coaching, the FMMS cheerleading team became the first in MPS history to ever attend the Universal Cheerleaders Association-National High School Cheerleading Championship in Orlando, FL. In the preliminaries, the team miraculously placed fourth out of 32 teams and only missed the finals by 0.5 points. FMMS has proven that patience, teamwork, and relentless practice are the building blocks for success.
Louisiana native, Torquoria Abner eats, breathes, and sleeps cheer. After moving to Montgomery, Abner began her cheerleading career in grade school. She made cheerleading captain and all-star all four years of her high school career at Jefferson Davis. After high school, Abner decided to take her talent to new heights. She auditioned for Alabama A&M and secured a spot on the team in 2004. During her senior year of college, Abner would land her spot as cheer captain and lead the team to success in the National Cheer Competition in 2008. After graduating college with a biology pre-med degree, Abner returned to Montgomery and began teaching at Carver High School. From there, she then began her coaching career at BTW Magnet High School and has since coached at Lee High School and Floyd Middle Magnet.
As an avid high school teacher and cheer coach, Abner admits that she never expected to coach middle school cheer. During her time with FMMS, she had to become acquainted with a lot of factors. Nevertheless, her experience was one for the books.
Abner says, “It has been a phenomenal experience with Floyd. Only because I never thought I would enjoy middle school cheer. But once the dots started connecting, everybody started to believe in my dream.”
Throughout the recent season, Abner developed an unbreakable bond with her team. Abner admits that her team has taught her valuable lessons that she will never forget. Abner says, “The valuable lesson that I have learned is patience. If you don’t have patience, you won’t have a winning season. For me, it’s always one step at a time.”
Several hours of practice combined with discipline helped to prepare FMMS for the large-scale competition. Abner says, “First, we went to Mobile, AL to compete at state level for the Alabama High School Athletic Association competition. We placed there and got a bid. In between time, we had a month or two to prepare for regionals. Once we made that bid, we’re talking about practices six days a week. You must remember that this is an academic school where the students must maintain a certain GPA and stay on top of a constant flow of work. So, I’m asking for their lives to change, not only for the children, but their parents as well.”
The journey to compete was tedious. To motivate and empower her squad, Abner made the process as lively and fun as possible.
Abner says, “These are children, and they get tired. I had to figure out ways to get them pumped. We had pizza parties, ice cream socials and Tik-Tok dance time before practice. I had to motivate them every day and keep them inspired. My job was to let them know that they could do it.”
Abner and the FMMS cheerleaders have made their mark on MPS history. Their achievement has put MPS athletics in the spotlight. After the success, Coach Abner admits to receiving public recognition and is ecstatic with the feedback from the community. Abner says, “It is surreal. I’m not saying it’s fame but it’s being recognized for hard work. It’s a good feeling to be first in history to make it to Nationals as a middle school. It’s like I’m walking around in shock.”
Abner wants to encourage other MPS schools to push for success in competitions. She believes that with the necessary efforts to build strong teams with strong coaching, anything is possible. Abner says, “I really just want to pave the way for other teams in the city. I want to tell them that they can compete, and I want to show other coaches that they can do it too. We can do it; we must put the hard work in.”
Although, this was her last cheer season with Floyd Middle Magnet, Abner has immense faith that the team will continue to flourish and strive for greatness. Abner says, “It is bittersweet, and I wish them nothing but continued success. I know that they’ll do great because the foundation has been built.”
As for what’s next for Abner? She will continue to contribute her knowledge of cheer to those around her. One of her biggest goals is to build a cheer gym within the Montgomery community to continue the spirit of cheer. Abner says, “My goal now is to open a cheer gym and I want the focus to be school cheer. I want to get back to what the basics really are, and I want to instill that into the up-and-coming girls. I want to make sure that these girls are equipped to get to the next level.”
For more information about Floyd Middle Magnet School? Click for more information: Floyd Middle School for Mathematics, Science and Technology / Homepage (mps.k12.al.us)
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