By Garrett Gallego
On Jan. 21, at the second of two Regional Cheer rounds, Gabrielino High School’s Cheer Competition Squad solidified its qualification for the United Spirit Association (USA) Nationals.
Gabrielino was scheduled to compete against Century High School and Santiago High School in the second round of Regionals, held at Yorba Linda High School. However, Century dropped out of the competition, leaving Santiago as the only other competitor in the Co-Ed Novice Varsity division.
The Co-Ed Novice Varsity is a rare division, as not many schools have both boys and girls on their team, and it is one of the more difficult divisions at the competition.
The Eagles performed a stellar routine but due to the execution of an illegal maneuver and a mistake that led to two penalties and a deduction of four points, the squad fell behind Santiago in the final round, 82-86.
Still, the team’s scores were high enough in both rounds to qualify for Nationals.
“We haven’t had it easy,” stated junior Arianna Hernandez. “With practices lasting until 5:00 p.m. everyday, we have worked so hard in order to get where we are and have definitely had some bumps along the way. But [breaking to Nationals] has made it all worth it.”
The first round of Regional Cheer was held on Jan. 15 at Brea Olinda High School. The opponent facing off was Redlands East Valley High School, whom Gabrielino bested, 86-83.
The team now looks forward to competing at the USA Nationals on March 24. If the team breaks to finals, they will compete on March 26.
“After having all these obstacles thrown at us, like having nowhere to practice at school and putting in the extra hours to finish the routine last minute,” stated junior Alenna Espadas, “qualifying for Nationals just lifted a weight off of all of our shoulders and really bonded the team together.”