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Woodard has plenty to cheer about with national title
Woodard Junior High School has plenty to cheer about.
After coaching the Woodard Junior High School cheerleaders to 15 state titles, Patty Quiroz recently also led them to their fourth national competition, where they placed first in their category.
The local team, made up of 14 sixth- through eighth-grade girls, participated in America's Grand National Cheer Championships in Las Vegas, Nev., on Dec. 15 and 16.
“We also won the sportsmanship award, which topped the whole weekend off,” she said.
In order to qualify for the competition, the team was required to submit a video entry of their routine, on which they must score at least a 80 percent. Quiroz added that they had qualified for the competition in the past but previously could not afford to make the trip.
“All national competitions are very exciting... with the bright lights, music, stage, announcers and format,” she said. “Most in-state competitions are less formal, even being held in school gyms... Nationals are just like TV so we had to prepare the girls for that.”
During the Saturday competition, they began warming up at 6:45 a.m. and performed at 8 a.m., Quiroz said, noting that she was concerned about how the early start would impact their performance. She noted, however, that the girls pulled through with their best performance of the year.
The following day their competition time was scheduled for 8 p.m., Quiroz said, adding that “waiting all day to perform was difficult as well.”
She said the competition was tough as they were competing mostly against teams from the West Coast as well as many all-star teams.
“As coaches, we know what they are capable of,” she said. “By the time competition hits, it's all about having fun and showing everyone how hard they have worked while making it look real easy. We tell them to never be the ones who wish they could've done better because there are no do-overs or overtime opportunities. They are a team that strives to do better each and every time they compete.”
She said their routine consisted of synchronized tumbling, standing, jumps, cheering, stunting two pyramids and a dance. Quiroz said that while the December competition was in the show cheer category, they will compete in the pom and all girl stunt routines categories in January.
“I want to ... thank the Woodard staff for their continued support, the community and most importantly our booster club that makes things happen for this program,” said Quiroz.
“I am so blessed to have them work unselfishly for the coaches and the girls every day of the year. We are a great family.”
What's next for the students? Practice, practice, practice, she said, noting that the girls have three-hour practices four days a week.
Quiroz said the team will be working this month to take the judges' comments into consideration to further refine their routine as they head into 2013.
Sarah Womer can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 539-6858. Find her on Facebook at Facebook.com/YSSarahWomer or on Twitter at @YSSarahWomer.