Cheer makes finals

April 9, 2010 — by Mira Chaykin

A little bit of the magic of Disney must have rubbed off on the SHS cheerleaders when they performed at a competition in Anaheim March 26 and 28. The newly renovated and highly motivated cheer team had the perfect ending to their California Adventure when they took fourth place at the novice level at the United Spirit Association’s National competition, becoming the first SHS cheerleaders to compete at Finals in an event that draws several hundred teams from across the country. They competed against 14 other teams in the Small Varsity Novice Show Cheer division.

“I always watch finals and am so impressed by the teams, so I love the thought that we are at that same level,” said junior Talia Balma.
The girls didn’t even really need Tinkerbell’s fairy dust thanks to the hours they put into perfecting their performance.
The small team practices for two hours every Monday, Tuesday and Thursday during the year, fostering a tight-knit atmosphere.
“For once, our entire team gets along like family, and it was really reflected in how we worked together in practice,” said senior Alexa Francis.
The girls mostly attribute their success to the unity of their team and the new option to cheer for the school but not at competitions made available by coach Laressa Ridge.
“This year it was an option to to competition team, so everyone was competing because they wanted to and not because it was a requirement,” said freshman Chelsea Miller.
The optional decision to compete took away a lot of the tension created in past years when girls simply did not have the time or motivation to put their full hearts into cheerleading.
“I had 14 girls who were 100 percent dedicated to competition, which made it a fun environment,” said Ridge. “We laughed at least one time each practice.”
The devoted cheerleaders not only diligently worked toward their goals, they played an active role in the dances and stunts that ultimately helped achieve them.
“Miss Ridge incorporated parts of dances that we made up and allowed us all to have a say in what the routine was compiled of,” said Francis. “Because we all helped decide what we did, of course we all like what we were doing, and that showed in our performances.”
Needless to say, the girls were ecstatic over their victory.
“I know for the fourth year members, and some others, we collectively decided it was the happiest, most exciting moment of our life so far and it probably wouldn’t be topped until our wedding,” said Francis.
The happiest moment of their lives followed by free time in the happiest place on Earth. Not too shabby for a school trip.

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