Cheer rallies together for fifth-place finish and invitation to nationals

November 18, 2009 — by Sarah Hull

The cheer team took home fifth place and qualified for nationals at their first competition of the year on Nov. 8, despite only practicing their entire routine the morning of the competition.

This competition also marked the first occasion that only some members of the team performed competitively. Previously, the entire team had participated in competitions. This year, members who were not interested in the competing aspect of cheer or who could not make the necessary time commitment were given the chance to opt out. The remaining 15 girls, who were willing to put in extra time and effort, formed the competition team. Those who do not compete perform only at football games, basketball games, rallies, and other similar events.

“The girls who are on the competition team are the ones who really want to do it,” said cheer coach Laressa Ridge, “The attitude of everyone on the team is phenomenal and I think that has a lot to do with why we had such a good performance.”

While preparing for the first competition, the team did face some bumps in the road as the routine was not complete until three days before they performed at Washington High School in Fremont. Because of this, most team members were anxious about how they would do. This was also the first time many of the cheerleaders had ever participated in a competition since they had no previous cheer experience.

“When I first got there, I saw all the other teams and they were like [the movie] ‘Bring It On’,” said sophomore and first time competitor Anika Jhalani. “That made me feel like we weren’t totally prepared for this, but I knew that in the end we would be able to pull together as team.”

The group’s initial worries were alleviated after they competed. They performed a solid routine, only dropping one stunt sequence.
“[The team] had lots of energy and everything we did well, we did really well,” said Ridge. “Overall, we were very successful and everyone did a great job.”

The primary goal of the competition, however, was to receive feedback and constructive criticism from the judges as well as their reactions to the routine.
Cheer rallies together for fifth-place finish and invitation to nationals
“We got lots of good comments from the judges” said Ridge. “They gave us some areas where we can add difficulty, so now we’ll change those parts. We can only improve from where we are now.”

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