The Queen Is Back.
I repeat, the Queen of Tumbling is back!
Rice took the floor for the final time on April 30 with the Steel Rays at The Cheerleading Worlds 2018 and for many, that final performance marked an end of an era.
Jaden & Angel after Senior Large Coed 5 awards at The Cheerleading Worlds 2018.
Since the cheerleading icon hung up her bow in April, she turned her focus and attention to perusing goals in the next chapter of her life: power tumbling.
In July, Rice earned her spot on the 2018-2019 trampoline and tumbling senior national team, a goal she had been working hard to accomplish for more than two years.
When she wasn’t practicing with Team USA, Rice was attending college and caring for her great-grandmother Helen, who recently passed away.
Just when we thought we had seen the last of Rice on the blue mat, she attended Battle Under The Big Top in Atlanta to watch her brother and former teammates compete.
“I really missed the teamwork, relationship building, and the camaraderie. I love competing. It’s in my blood. A little friendly competition is good for the soul.”
They say once cheerleading is in your blood, it’s something that stays with you forever. That phrase held true for Rice as she toyed with the decision of coming out of retirement. “The decision to return to cheer wasn’t tough at all. I’ve been doing it all of my life so it’s really going back to the familiar. I love cheering,” Rice said.
The tumble star announced her return with a subtle post on Instagram that got some big attention.
Angel has competed with some of the best in the industry, The California All Stars, The Stingray Allstars Marietta and now, in her return, Rockstar Cheer.
“I chose Rockstar Cheer because I wanted to allow my brother to have his own identity at Stingray Allstars. He is extremely talented, and I think that is best for him. I love Stingray Allstars and we will always be family.”
Angel will be joining the Rockstar Cheer family as a member of the gym's Open Small Coed Level 5 team, Beatles.
She has already begun practices with her new team and she feels optimistic for the season.
"I am extremely excited because I get to meet new people and build new relationships. I also get to work under another AMAZING coach," said Rice.
"I’m happy with my decision and I’m ready to learn their program, work hard within the program and to execute my skills to the best of my ability."
While Rice has continued to keep her skills in tip-top shape through power tumbling, she noted how it's been a little difficult to transition back to cheer tumbling from power tumbling. "I like the fact that Rockstar reminds me of the Smoed program as far as the conditioning before practice, and that felt familiar to me. I’m looking forward to this transition," Rice explained.
Her goal for the season is simple: She wants to win another title at The Cheerleading Worlds.
"That is always the goal for any cheerleading team. But it’s also nice to have great friends, a great coach and great relationships within my new cheer program," Rice said.
Cheer fans will get a first look at The Queen of Tumbling and the Rockstar Beatles at JAMfest Cheer Super Nationals on Jan. 19-20 in Indianapolis.
What can you expect from her in the routine? A new iconic last pass? Purple hair? Maybe some single-base stunting?
When we asked for some details she said she couldn't spill too many secrets but she guaranteed she will be rocking some fun purple hair and some amazing, crazy tumbling (of course).
"I’ll do my best to surprise you," she said.