Following a string of successes at competitions this year, the cheer team moved on to compete at Nationals in Los Angeles last Friday, March 29. On top of placing 4th out of 12 teams in the Large Varsity Novice Division, the team also placed 5th out of 36 schools in the High School Group Stunt Intermediate division–placing LAHS 5th in the competition and making school history.
The team, which left for Los Angeles at 6 a.m. last Thursday, March 29, has been practicing for this competition since last April. The entire routine includes 1.5 minutes of dancing and 1 minute of cheer, and consists of stunts, dancing, double jumps, kicks, floorwork, tumbling and motions.
“Although 2.5 minutes seems short, it’s not,” senior Jackie Simion said. “It takes your breath away because every element has to be perfect and always 150 percent out. Every person tries extremely hard and the captains always try to encourage the team like big sisters. Coach [Nikia Crawley] really prepared us and taught us a winning routine.”
While all team members competed in the Large Varsity Novice Division, the team split into two stunt groups for the Intermediate Division: Team Blue, which consisted of seniors Roxanne Cardenas and Annie Frates, junior Monica Hsu, and sophomores Allie Barreira and Anastassiya Bronnikova, and Team White, which consisted of seniors Emily Laurence and Jerusalen Jimenez, juniors Jocelyn Marin and Morgan Jaffe, and sophomore Roxanne Rogers.
Although the setting differed from previous competitions, the competition the team faced last week remained largely familiar. LAHS cheer once again encountered two-time winning national champion Notre Dame High School, whom they defeated this year at a previous regional competition, as well as Buchanan High School, who competed in the Intermediate Division last year.
While Buchanan took first place this year, followed by Notre Dame and Beaumont High School, LAHS received fourth place for a .5 deduction for tumbling–a deduction several members view as unfair.
“From reviewing the video multiple times, we could not see it at all,” Roxanne said.
Looking forward, Roxanne said that although the team no longer plans to compete with United Spirit Association (USA) “due to its unfair and inconsistent scoring,” it may switch over to JAMZ Cheer and Dance. Although this year LAHS cheer competed in both the Novice and Intermediate Divisions to test the waters, next year the team will officially be moving up to Intermediate.
“We did an amazing job, and we left our hearts out on the floor,” junior Cathy Liu said. “Sometimes, life is tough and politics can keep you from reaching your dreams. The judges gave us a penalty point that we did not get, after watching the video 20 times, and the judging was extremely inconsistent. However, we knew in our hearts that we did a first place performance, and the feeling after we performed was the best feeling I’ve ever had.”
Jackie shares a similar opinion.
“Overall, I think the competition was a great experience and I’m very proud of fourth place,” Jackie said. “We went from placing seventh last year to fourth! It was amazing to see all the hard work pay off–it’s so worth it.”