By Yamilex Garcia and Omar Quintana
For the second consecutive year, Warrior Cheer will be attending national competitions in March because of their performance on Saturday, November 19, 2016, in Goodyear, Arizona, where they scored qualifying numbers—more than enough to advance to the next level.
The Cheer team left Tucson on Friday night in order to be ready to wake up at 5:30 a.m. the next morning and check in to the competition by 8 a.m. on Saturday. The team warmed up for 10 minutes before performance time—one of the first teams to compete.
Mr. Frankie Grijalva, who has been Cheer’s coach for the past three years, said that his team’s success this school year is “a big deal”.
“Despite having a slightly smaller group than last year,” Grijalva said, “the team is very talented. We need to focus on improving our tumbling between now and the national competitions [in March].” He paused and said, “Last year, the team placed 13th nationally, and I think that we can do better this year. It’s all up to the Cheer team.”
Senior Alisa Gutierrez, who has been a member of the Pueblo Cheer team since her sophomore year, said, “After we seniors leave, I have a feeling that the team is going to keep doing well—as long as they have the mind-set to win. The talent is definitely there. They just need to realize this for themselves. They can reach any goal that they set their minds to. Practice how you perform, or you’ll perform the way that you practice.”
Calista Gonzales, a junior, said, “Going into the competitions last weekend was definitely an adrenaline rush. I was shaking and beyond nervous, but this seems to be what motivates me to do my best.” She added, “I’m sure we’ll do well in competitions next spring in California—that is, if we can all stay eligible.”
Senior Shadie Grajeda-Dabdoub, who has also been a member of Cheer since her sophomore year, said that she feels confident about the national competition in March. “We know that there are tough teams to beat, but somehow Pueblo’s Cheer team pushes harder. Instead of feeling intimidated by these superior teams, I look at them with great respect and apply this respect to myself—which is an attitude that everybody on the team should also mirror.”
Enrique Navarro, a senior, has been committed to being a part of Cheer all four years at Pueblo.
“Cheer is more organized this year, and team members are more motivated because we strive to become better,” Navarro said. “Our competitors really inspired us to be stronger and to be in a league of winners.”
Between now and March, Navarro said that the team will need to practice daily and clean up their routine if they are to be victorious in March in Anaheim, Calif. Cheer also needs to become stronger as a team and said that although competing against one another adds strength to the team, too much competition can add unnecessary tensions.
Alisa Gutierrez said, “I love my team with all of my heart. They are my second family.” She paused and added, “I push my teammates because I know that they can achieve greatness, and I’d never set them up for failure.”
Shadie Grajeda-Daddoub said, “I have high hopes for Pueblo’s Cheer program. I know that we will continue to do great things.”
Coach Grijalva said, “Between now and March, our Cheer team needs to raise money for the trip to California. Other than that, with practice and determination, we’re ready.”