By Vincent PAGE, intern
From March 20 to March 23, Crescenta Valley High School junior varsity cheer competed in the USA Nationals Cheer tournament in Anaheim. The team placed third, an impressive accomplishment for the team. This competition is the squad’s main focus throughout the year, as Coach Jessie Moorehead has trained her team the entire year, while finalizing the routines the week before the girls competed.
Since the competition was held over spring break, some girls had trouble making every practice, which was a disadvantage for the girls, because they’ve been building chemistry with their specific groups during the school year. When one girl is unable to be there that chemistry is thrown off, as a different cheerleader must replace the missing one. This happened often over the course of the tournament and the practices leading up to it, but Moorehead was more than impressed with the way her squad handled the situation.
“Every time we had an obstacle the girls were very mature and professional, and that made Nationals a great event,” Moorehead said. Captains Stephanie Hwang and Alithea Valdez were in a mutual agreement about how their coaches did in training them and their teammates for the event.
“A lot of JV teams only learn the basic skills needed to cheer but our coaches really worked us hard and made sure we knew some advanced stuff to really be impressive during the tournament,” Hwang said. “We practiced for this tournament every day and all of spring break and being such a success was all worth it.”
While most people believe cheerleading is not a sport and not very physically demanding, these two disagree entirely.
“Most people just think we go and jump around and cheer for other teams, but they don’t realize how often we stunt, which is extremely demanding physically and mentally. We practice that an hour every day, so dedication is a big factor as well,” the pair explained.
Cheerleaders attending a football game is part of the job, but the real focus is on competitions such as Nationals, which is the Super Bowl of high school cheer. Placing third is already a huge accomplishment, but there were bumps and bruises along the way, which made it all the more memorable for Coach Moorehead. When asked how this tournament ranked for her and her team, she responded enthusiastically.
“Ten beyond 10! If I could have a team every time that walked off smiling, hugging, and congratulating each other, I know I’ve won, despite the outcome, and so has the team,” Moorehead said.