By Michelle Yousefzadeh
The Spirit Squad placed first in its first dance competition in four years on Saturday at Valencia High School.
Thirteen schools were represented in the Viking Challenge. The squad, composed of both the dance and cheerleading teams, had been working on its routine since the summer and preformed it at half time during games throughout the year.
“I was really nervous because I didnât think we were going to win but this was a great way to end my cheer career,” Spirit Squad Co-Captain, Angela Navarro â09 said.
“I think we performed really well and the judges said we had good style and showmanship,” Navarro said. “We also worked the floor well and had really good energy.”
The routine was a combination of two completely different styles of choreography, Spirit Squad Co-Captain Jacqueline Iniguez â09 said.
For the first half of the competition, the team performed to a mix of reggaeton songs. The second half was composed of a hip hop song and funk moves.
“One of our coaches is also a skillful break-dancer, so sheâs been teaching us some moves to make our routine even more exciting,” Iniguez said.
Spirit Squad coach Kelly Vernon and assistant coaches Gianna Dahlia and Jessica Miller have worked hard to move the schoolâs cheerleading program in a new direction by adding acrobatic, visual movements to give the routine a competitive edge, Vernon said.
The team practices three to four times a week at the peak of its season, but added extra practices leading up to the competition.
The team added additional practice to its routine by performing at the boysâ and girlsâ basketball games, including in front of larger crowds at halftime of CIF and state playoff games.