Most Viewed Stories
Cheers for award-winning Yuma teams
Click here to see more photos from the teams
Cheerleaders from local middle and high school teams took home some of the top awards at the Arizona State 2013 Cheerleading Pom competition.
Squads from Woodard Junior High School received first place in show cheer and all-girl stunt and second place in all girl-stunt and pom categories.
One of Kofa High School's team took second place overall in all-girl stunt, and Yuma High School's dance team scored third in the hip-hop category. Yuma Catholic High School's team received third place for show cheer, the squad from Cibola received fourth in show cheer and Yuma High's cheerleaders received fifth place in show cheer.
Woodard cheer coach Patty Quiroz said the junior high teams were overjoyed that they placed first against seven other teams, adding up to the school's 17th state cheerleading title. “They were thrilled that all of their hard work had paid off.”
The girls also recently attended the USA Junior Nationals at Disneyland and placed first in advanced show cheer, beating out Scottsdale, Ariz., and eight other teams. This is the fourth time the students have competed in this particular competition.
“I went into this competition believing that placing in the top three is a huge accomplishment,” Quiroz said. “Winning this competition is the first for me, and beating a phenomenal team from Scottsdale makes it all the sweeter.”
Quiroz said the students have been working since September, Tuesdays through Fridays for three hours a day.
Kofa High School cheer coach Elisabeth English said her team was beyond excited to win second place, as it competed against 14 other teams. “They worked so hard and performed perfectly. It felt surreal to hear our name get called.”
English said their other squad placed 11th and represented themselves and the Yuma community well.
“The Kofa cheer program is ran as a family unit. Not every girl participated and competed in our all-girl stunt that placed second, but we all shared in that joy and accomplishment as every single girl plays a role on our team.”
She noted that the students have been working on their routine since December, practicing five days a week, three hours a day on top of football and basketball games.
“What we pride ourselves on at Kofa, is being a cheer team first and a competitive team second,” English said. “Our duties to our teams come before state.”
The Yuma High Dance Team was ecstatic to receive third place in the hip-hop category out of eight teams that competed, said dance teacher Tami White.
“The routines were phenomenal. The Yuma High kids danced their hearts out and they were very pleased with their performance whether we placed or not.”
Students on the team consist of students who are enrolled in the dance classes at Yuma High, White said.
“They are selected by audition at the beginning of the year. This year we have 22 members: four boys and 18 girls. Fifteen of those members were chosen for the competition dance.”
The cheer squad from Yuma Catholic competed against seven other teams at state and placed third.
“I could not be prouder of the girls,” said cheer coach Ericka Martinez. “They went out onto the mat and gave their hearts to the crowd. No matter where we placed, their performance was excellent, they looked great and definitely represented Yuma Catholic High School.”
She added that the girls had been working hard for the past six months on the routine, practicing five days a week for three hours a day.
“It has been a long road filled with challenges that the girls have had to overcome as a team. We had some great athletes unfortunately leave and we had to adapt and adjust to the changes in the routine.
“Through it all, the team stuck together and proved that when you want to accomplish something, nothing can stop you. They represented what being a Shamrock is all about, they kept the faith and prevailed.”
At Cibola High School, cheer coach Lauren Wischhusen said this was a whirlwind of a season for their teams.
“We had started the year in the summer with both a junior varsity and a varsity team, both of which were to compete different routines at the state competition. Around the holiday season, so many girls left the team for personal reasons that we were forced to combine who was left and make one large varsity competing team.”
In the large show cheer competition, the girls placed fourth, competing against six teams.
“Although it is frustrating to not have placed in the top three, I was very proud of the girls,” said Wischhusen. “They certainly performed the routine the best they ever had. The all-girl stunt girls, who competed against 14 schools, placed fifth, which is also a wonderful accomplishment.”
Past head coach Kristen Nichols, who attended the competition as well, said she was very proud of their routine and felt that the team did just as well, if not better than past years.
Yuma High head cheer coach Kathryn “KC” Clark said her team placed fifth out of the 12 teams competing this year.
“The team was very excited for how we did, they hit a wonderful routine and I as a coach couldn't be any happier for them. Yuma High has not been to a competition in six years so it was a very big milestone for Yuma High this year. We started off the year very late and we came a long way.”
Clark said the team of four boys and 18 girls practiced their routine for a month and a half every day for two hours.
Sarah Womer can be reached at email@example.com or 539-6858. Find her on Facebook at Facebook.com/YSSarahWomer or on Twitter at @YSSarahWomer.