Scorps Cheer Rocks First Place, Literally

Cam+High%27s+Varsity+Cheer+and+Pep+Squad+took+first+place+in+Nationals+last+month.

Photo by: James Schaap

Cam High’s Varsity Cheer and Pep Squad took first place in Nationals last month.

While pieces of the gym in which they were performing literally collapsed around them, Cam High’s cheer team received first place at United Spirit Association’s Spirit Nationals in Orange County on Sunday, March 30.

After a delay due to Friday night’s earthquake that was felt as far away as here in Ventura County, the cheer team competed at the Spirit Nationals the following day and took first in preliminaries. Cheer then placed first again after their performance on Sunday, winning the Spirit Nationals trophy.

Cheer began practice for the event nearly a month earlier and spent a minimum of 45 hours going over every part of their routine. “For three weeks we had three hour practices every single day,” said Emily Krakower, junior and varsity co-captain. “We would have to hit [each stunt] 10 out of 10 times, and then we would have to do the routine to make sure that tumbling timings were exactly the same and our jumps were in sync with each other.”

Krakower also explained how practicing so vigorously before the competition made the actual performance less nerve wracking. “The competition was a lot like practice. You just go out and you perform the routine you’ve been working on,” she said. “It made it a lot easier knowing that we had hit it so many times during practice to perform it during competition.”

According to cheer coach and special education teacher Amy Streicher, the earthquake occurred twenty minutes before they were ready to preform on Friday. “The whole arena just shook like crazy and ceiling tiles came down onto the  performance surface. So they canceled the competition for the evening, and moved everybody – even the ones that were on the deck to perform – to Saturday.”

“We just took it positively thinking that we had an extra day to make the routine spotless,” said Jenna Pizzo, sophomore and varsity co-captain. “It was kind of disappointing because we were really ready to perform, but everything worked out.”

Brittney Wilson, sophomore and varsity cheer member, also agreed that the delay was disappointing in that it meant their preparation on Friday to go to waste. “We were so angry,” she said. “We had been warming up for a long time that day and making sure everything was on and we were ready. Then [the earthquake] happened and we had to do it all again the next day.”

In spite of the setback, Cam High’s hard work paid off when they came out on top in the preliminaries. “Of each of the teams that performed at the preliminaries, we got the highest score out of all of them,” said Streicher. “For anybody who knows anything about scoring when you go into gymnastics or swim meets or anything, tenths of a point are big deals. We beat them by 7-10 points, full points – not even tenths of points, there was that big of a gap between us and the number two team.”

From there, cheer went on to place first again on Sunday and won the championship title. Pizzo and Krakower both think Cam High’s victory was well-deserved. “Everyone was really excited,” said Pizzo. “Everyone was crying and all of our hard work paid off. It felt really good.”

“It was relieving to know that we had made history with the show cheer,” said Krakower.

Annalyssa Niedens contributed to this story.