From Downey to Dallas

In the gym on Jan. 19, the varsity cheer team’s flyers practice their scorpions for their competition in Dallas, Texas. “We are not use to this kind of routine; it’s different,” Avrion Gray, 12, said. “There are a lot of things going on.”

Natalie Gomez, Arts & Entertainment Section Editor/ Staff Writer

During the month of January, the varsity cheer squad prepares to compete in the National Cheerleaders Association (NCA) Nationals held in Dallas, Texas. The girls began practicing for this competition in August when they first choreographed the routine they would perform months later in front of thousands of people.


The varsity cheer girls have been anticipating this competition since try-outs. Junior Daisy Romero, a two-year varsity cheerleader, was first surprised and excited when she first heard about the news, but the emotions did not fully hit her until she started watching videos on the NCA nationals competition.


“We’ve never competed anywhere other than the Anaheim Convention Center for nationals so actually getting on a plane and going to Texas is a big deal in itself,” Daisy Romero, 11, said. “NCA Nationals in Dallas is where all of the ‘hot shot’ cheer teams compete so the fact that we’re going up against them is huge.”


The girls will be competing alongside about 20 different teams coming from all over the United States. This competition is an opportunity for the girls to bring home the first cheerleading national title for their school along with a NCA National Champions letterman jacket.


“My motivation is to win it all and come back to California with my black letterman jacket,” Dulce Gutierrez, 11, said. “I want to be able to make the younger girls on our team look forward to flying to Dallas and fighting for that national title.”


In order to keep the team motivated, Coach Conner places a NCA National Champions letterman jacket in front of the girls while they practice and implements ‘Ready For War’ themed practices.


“We don’t just wave around pom poms and cheer at football games,” Priscilla Rolon, 12, said. “We work hard and are passionate about what we do.”


This upcoming competition has made the girls closer than ever through the hard work, dedication, and focus that they have all put in while preparing to take the mat. The emotional aspect of the whole ordeal is greater than the physical labor the girls have put in.


“I’m so proud of my team, it’s unbelievable,” Danniela Da Silva, 11, said. “I feel like crying just talking about it.”


The varsity cheer girls will take the blue mat in Dallas, Texas on Jan. 22. As the day gets closer, the girls are working on perfecting their routine in order to increase their chances of winning nationals.