Best in the nation ... that has a mighty nice ring to it. That's how the New Milford Bulls' Pop Warner Junior Midget cheerleaders can describe themselves this week. The 25 New Milford girls made local history Dec. 5 by winning their category of the Pop Warner national cheerleading competition at Walt Disney World resort in Orlando, Fla. "I am extremely proud of this team," said Mindi Sarko, the Bulls' cheerleading commissioner, "and how hard they worked to achieve their dream. It is very well deserved." The Junior Midget cheerleaders earned titles along the way at the state and New England regional levels to qualify for the trip to Florida. During the Dec. 5 competition, the New Milford girls won their category and also achieved the highest score in their session. "It has been a long time coming for this hard-working team," said Ms. Sarko. who explained the Junior Midgets' motto has been "One Team, One Dream." Coach Sherri Cognato, in her seventh year working with the Bulls' cheerleaders, explained this group has been, for the most part, rising through the ranks together as cheerleaders. "As they grew, so did their level of maturity and skill," she said. "They were not only teammates, they were close friends and classmates as well." "This journey has been amazing," coach Cognato added. "To see these 25 girls achieve their goal is truly a dream come true. We are in a whirlwind. Making New Milford Bulls' history is not only the accomplishment of this team but of this organization as well." The national champs' head coach made it clear the program's goals were about the girls' growth and development. "I am hoping that this creates memories that will never be forgotten," she said. "It is a tribute to 25 girls who have proved that their passion, commitment, determination, sportsmanship and teamwork is what it takes to become a national champion." Lending their cheerleading skills to the Junior Midgets' efforts this fall have been Samara Jenkins, Codi Sealund, Tianna Wells, Olivia Thalassinos, Lauren Lombardo, Megan Lynch, Mia Fyler, Trish Lilley, Micayla Flynn, Hannah Seigel, Leah Cognato, Joanna DeLima, Alisson Haywood, Michaela Ferlow, Shania Ek, Emily McGuire, Taylor Franzese, Emily Spagnolo, Danielle Kwapien, Ivey Collins, Gabriella Main, Brittany Karaz, Megan Radcliff, Briana Podyma and Ivana Perez. Contributing guidance and instruction were head coach Sherri Cognato, assistant coaches Jessica Seigel and Tom Cognato, demonstrators Lexi Franzese, Meghan Timan, coach trainee Meghan Cognato and commissioner Mindi Sarko. Head coach Cognato said she and her team were very appreciative of local backing they have received from the coaching staff, the Bulls' board and organization, and the community. "Our goal was always to make it fun. These young ladies put a lot of blood sweat and tears into their journey," she concluded. "The road was not always an easy one. We over came injuries and illnesses like everyone else but they pulled it together and showed the nation what they were made of."