By Gabby Ahlzadeh and Cathy Zaragoza
Since last year, the cheerleading squad has doubled in size, standing now at 10 members.Â Of the 17 who made the team, 10 chose to make the commitment.Cheerleader Cherelle Patrick â09 credits the increase in interest to the posters and announcements that the squad made towards the end of the 2006-2007 school year.âWe did a lot more announcing during assemblies and put up signs and posters, and the Facebook group definitely helped as well,â Patrick said, referencing the Facebook group which has 45 members.Though Head Coach Cicely Izadi enjoyed the smaller, more intimate squad, she is looking forward to working with the new girls and is optimistic about their capabilities. Nevertheless, Izadi does not plan on focusing more on stunting even with the bigger squad, saying that the team is still too small to perform any major stunts. âI think this year we want to focus more on the routines and dances and the song leading aspect of cheerleading,â Izadi said. Assistant Coach Kelly Vernon thinks that placing the focus on the dancing aspect can make a difference.âMore people will be drawn to the program considering the popularity of dance shows like âSo You Think You Can Danceâ and âHigh School Musical,â Vernon said.The team has been practicing throughout the summer, attending a four-day cheer camp on campus, where members of the squad were taught dances by professional choreographers, including a former member of the Los Angeles Clippers Spirit Dance team and the choreographer on tour with the Pussycat Dolls.âWe wanted the girls to experience a variety of dance styles so we brought in some different choreographers to keep the performances dynamic to keep the audiences entertained,â Vernon said, adding that these new dances should also boost recruitment. Though former cheerleaders Jason Byun â09 and Ellie Bensinger â09 are unable to participate this year due to prior commitments, all admit that they will miss the sport.âIt hurts me every time I look at my cheer uniform. I am definitely going back my senior year though,â Patrick said.