Spirit Squad performs well in first competition despite stress

October 16, 2008 — by Mira Chaykin

The Spirit Squad performed at their first competition on Saturday, Oct. 11, at Great America. They earned fourth place out of nine competing teams and qualified for USA Nationals.

The competition was stressful as compared to previous years, as the girls had a minimal amount of time to learn two dances and a cheer.

“Last year, we started learning our routine at the end of summer before school,” said junior Nicala Pedicini. “This year we learned our routine in three weeks.”

The girls had to put in extra hours at every practice, and ran through the entire routine for the very first time in the last practice before competition.

In addition to the stress of rushed learning, the squad’s new members had the added pressure of proving to the team that they could succeed when it really mattered.

Frehsman Arianna Paranzino, a new squad member, said, “Competitions are a lot more stressful than rallies. If you make a mistake at a rally you can just smile and keep going, but during a competition you feel as if you let your team down.”

Despite the girls’ apprehension, they performed well.

“With some last-minute adjustments and down-to-the-wire learnng of choreography they pulled off an incredible routine and we are very proud of all of them,” said the Spirit Squad coach and adviser Laressa Ridge.

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At UC Berkeley, PhD student Abrar Abidi and research assistant Yvonne Hao have embarked on a goal of creating hand sanitizer for the Bay Area's most vulnerable populations, including the homeless and the incarcerated. Their hand sanitizer includes glycerol mixed with other products, in accordance with a formula from the World Health Organization. So far, they are producing 120 hundreds of gallons of sanitizer each week. Photo courtesy of Roxanne Makasdjian with UC Berkeley.

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