Cheer Squad Rises above Challenges at Nationals


Mindy Luo, Staff Writer

The competition cheerleading team placed 5th at the Jamz Cheerleading Nationals in Las Vegas on February 22 and 23.

Jamz hosts competitions in which many California schools participate During this season, Jamz held 3 regional competitions leading up to Nationals. Over 200 teams competed in the 30 different divisions at the 2019 nationals.

The Nationals event consisted of 2 days of competition. The 1st day was worth 35% of the overall score and the 2nd day was worth 65%.

The Cougar squad placed 8th in their division the 1st day and 2nd the next day.

Campolindo’s competition routine was choreographed by coaches Jannine Crow and Monica Cox. According to the coaches, a cheer routine is made up of many different components, including dance, stunts, and cheer jumps. The whole routine is scored based on difficulty, choreography, and performance quality.

“In cheer, judges don’t just care about how difficult your routine is, you also get scored on ‘spirit.’ Showing that you are excited and want to be there is key to tying together the routine,” said Crow.

Some of the squad felt that their slow start to the competition was a result of the long cheer season.

According to co-captain sophomore Hannah Miller, 1 cheerleader decided to quit the team 3 weeks before Nationals, and the cheer team almost had to cancel their whole trip. The coaches re-choregraphed the whole routine in only 2 days of practices before nationals.

“It’s really difficult to practice the routine if even 1 person on the team is gone,” said Miller. “It’s not in normal sports where you can use someone on the bench. The whole routine is choreographed around each person’s stunting abilities, so if just 1 person is gone, we have to change the whole routine.”

Challenges continued when the team arrived the the day before the competition.  One team member’s flight was cancelled because of the the snowstorm in Vegas. As a result, they were unable to practice their routine while at the event site.

“1 of our girls ended up waiting 12 hours at the airport to get on the next flight and finally got to the hotel at midnight. She’s such a trooper,” said Miller.

Thus, the squad was less than perfect on day 1 of the competition. However, the Cougars his their stride on the 2nd day, jumping up 3 places on the scoreboard.

“I was so shocked when we found out we got 2nd place. I don’t even know how we did it,” said freshman Caroline Fitzpatrick.

“I felt really happy because even though we had to change our entire routine within 2 days, which I didn’t even think physically possible, we still managed to do well at the competition,” said junior Bella Brocato. “All the other teams had practiced the same routine for the whole season. I was really expecting to get the lowest score.”

“The 3 days were very emotionally draining but I’m still glad we got through it together as a team,” said Fitzpatrick.