Last week, Wa-Hi’s varsity cheer team travelled to Anaheim, California, to compete at the USA Spirit Nationals on Feb 23.
The team sent in a video of their routine and received a qualifying score. “As senior captain, this year was especially different from last year in the best way, because it was the first year we had a state qualifying score instead of just placing in the top 50 to go to state like last year,” captain Kiran Maini said.
Wa-Hi’s 12-man team is comprised of senior captains Kiran Maini and Chloe Williams, senior co-captain Holly Gannon and junior co-captain Lauren Mendoza, as well as Sage Kline, Mikayla Lara, Teagan Wilke, Brennan Filan, Courtney Gaines, Jordyn Thrall, Kami Philavanh and Macy Applegate. They competed against 27 other small varsity teams of six to 12 individuals, and received a score of 88.3 out of 100 possible points; the team placed seventeenth, and was only two points away from qualifying for Finals. There were three overall divisions competing at nationals: small, medium and large teams.
Both senior captains reported that this season was very exciting for the entire team, because everyone was committed to accomplishing their goals for the season. “I think what set this year apart was that we all worked really hard to reach our goals, and we were all invested in each other’s success, individually and for the team,” Williams said. Wa-Hi's entire tumbling team was able to compete at the national competition, rather than only taking a smaller stunt group, which was great experience for everyone, Maini said.
As both Maini and Williams will be graduating Wa-Hi this year, they encourage anyone to try out for cheer. “I would tell someone who wants to try out for cheer to be ready for a big commitment. It’s a lot of time and effort to put in, but the outcome is so worth it,” Williams said.
“Don’t second guess yourself, because confidence is key,” Maini said.