Cheer Flies Its Way to Fourth at Nationals


Courtesy of Allyson Waggoner

The cheer squad gathered at 10 a.m. on finals day to review score sheets and proceed to compete at 2:20 p.m. for a national ranking.

Julia Kim and Simrat Singh

A blur of purple and silver flashed before the audience as JV cheer competed at the USA Spirit Nationals in Anaheim, California, where they placed 4th in Large JV Show Cheer Novice category out of fifteen teams on Feb. 23-25. The squad performed its routine to the theme of believe, using a remix of songs including “I’m a Believer,” “It’s Always a Good Time” and “Don’t Stop Believin’.”

At the competition, the girls performed their routine in front of ten judges on Feb. 23 and competed in the final round on Feb. 24. After qualifying for finals, the squad met earlier on saturday to review their scoresheets from the night before, discussing any adjustments that could boost the team’s overall score.

“We made sure that everything in the routine was absolutely solid and was going to be possible to hit on the floor come Nationals. It was important to us as coaches that the athletes could show a routine they were confident with, not a routine that was going to have mistakes and falls everywhere,” cheer coach Allyson Waggoner said. “We wanted the cheerleaders to be happy with whatever placement they earned, and being that only the top 5 teams advance to finals, it was just the cherry on top of an amazing hit. After the second day, when the team hit again, even better this time, they were rewarded with a 4th in the Nation finish, absolutely incredible for a first year team.”

The team of 21 girls is led by sophomores and captains Alex Beltran and Gracie Koo. Cheer requires teamwork and communication in order for all members to execute dance choreography along with tumbling and stunts for the competitions.

“We performed a routine that included jumps, dances, cheers, tumbling and stunting,” Koo said. “We happened to make it to finals from the first day of the USA cheer competition, placing fourth in nationals on the second day.”

While the majority of the team has been competing in cheer for fewer than two years, the team has worked together to help the freshmen and new team members be more comfortable with the drills and routines. The squad has trained hard in order to improve its skills during halftime shows and competitions, but in doing so also grew as a family.

“It’s amazing seeing how far we have come not only as a team, but as individuals. We all have different stories and perspectives, yet we all come together as one family on those cheer mats,” Beltran said. “Cheer is not a selfish sport, and we all rely on one another to succeed, and we all go through downfalls and victories as a family, which is so awesome to be part of.”

To watch their performance, click here.