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JV cheer named Grand Champions

Tears flowed down the JV cheerleaders? cheeks, the stands erupted in applause and screams burst from their lungs. They exchanged hugs and stood in disbelief as the announcer named the JV cheer team Grand Champions of the JV and Jr. High division in the 10th annual Fellowship of Christian Cheerleaders (FCC) West Coast Championship at Azusa Pacific University, Feb. 16.

?When we got to the competition, we were really excited,? Holly Savage, ?10, JV cheer co-captain, said. ?We were ready to get out on the floor and show the judges what we could do.?

While waiting for their scheduled performance time, the JV team wandered upon Whittier Christian, their rival.

?Because we didn?t perform until later, we had time to wander around, and we caught a glimpse of our main rival, Whittier Christian, warming up,? Savage said. ?We knew they had a solid routine, and had won nationals before, but since we had beaten them at cheer camp, we were pretty confident that we could do it again.?

Witnessing their rival created anxiety in the team, but a flashback from cheer camp ushered a surge of confidence.

?Right before we went on, we prayed, and we decided that what got us first at camp was not only how well we performed, but our spirit and heart,? Savage said. ?We went onto the floor and gave it everything we had.?

Remembering the cause of their success at cheer camp, the JV team executed their routine before the judges.

?When we were done [with our routine], we were so excited,? sophomore Elizabeth Grossman, JV cheer co-captain, said. ?It was the best routine we had performed in a long time.?

The team then sat down and awaited judgment.

?When we sat down for the awards, we were all so nervous and anxious to hear our results,? Alyssa Powell, ?10, JV cheerleader, said. ?When the announcer named Whittier Christian as second, everyone on JV stared at each other in shock.?

The JV team merited 1st place and Grand Champions, adding to their esteem since garnering 1st place at the Clovis Pep Classic and Grand Champions at the FCC Capitol Championship.

?When they announced that we won, we started screaming,? Powell said. ?Fresno Christian fans and the varsity team jumped up in the stands and were yelling and screaming for us.

?Almost immediately after we accepted our 1st place trophy, they called our names again and we won Grand Champions,? Powell continued. ?We could hardly believe that it happened; it was all so surreal.?

The cheerleaders scored a consistent 4.5 out of 5 in all areas, and according to coach Katie Mendenhall, the judges loved all of the stunts in their routine.

?They performed a torch-arabesque, a difficult partner stunt, with a dip and super high kick basket tosses,? Mendenhall said. ?They also showed four back tucks and five girls did backhand springs, which gave the girls an edge on scoring over the other teams.?

Mendenhall appreciates the JV team?s ambition.

?The girls deserve it; they work hard and are at every practice always wanting to push harder and get better. I am so proud of them and all of their accomplishments. It is huge what they are doing for such a young team,? Mendenhall said.

JV will next compete at Magic Mountain on Feb. 23 and while they did qualify for FCC Nationals, they did not attend due to cost. The junior high cheer team will compete Feb. 24.

For more information on the cheer teams, visit Suzanna Quiring’s Jan. 30, ’08 article Cheer aces Clovis Pep Classic or Brittany Stobbe’s Dec. 19, ’07 article JV Capitol champions. For photos of the event, see Best of show or Over the top.

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