Cheerleading may not be a traditional winter sport, but ask any of the girls on the Hood River Valley High School competitive cheer team what they’ve been up to for the last few months and they’d be happy to tell you just how much effort they have put into the season. And as the season comes to a climax at this weekend’s OSAA State Cheerleading Championships, the team will face a bittersweet moment.
The excitement of being at the Memorial Coliseum and performing in front of thousands of screaming friends, family and fellow competitors is an experience the girls will probably never forget. But their moment in the spotlight is but a flash, and all the energy and hard work they’ve invested during the last few months — and, for the seniors, the last few years — comes down to a mere two-and-a-half-minute performance. And for the seniors, it will be their last routine wearing the Eagle uniform.
“We have bonded so much as friends and coaches because we have to work hard together to make our routine look good,” team member Cayla Concienne said this week. “It has been lot of hard work, but it is worth it.”
The team has been working on a single routine all season; increasing in point-scoring difficulty as they progress. With a need for mats to practice aerial moves, the girls have trained at 6:30 a.m. before school in the wrestling room.
“We tested our routine last weekend at the Tualatin Last Chance Invitational,” said coach Jennifer Schlosser. “We finished in second, which is an improvement from last year when we finished third. We have a very talented team but competition is tough this year so we really need to bring it all together at state.”
The HRV girls will compete Saturday against 12 other schools in the 5A small division (small division consists of teams with 12 team members or less). Last year, in HRV cheerleading’s first year entering the contest, the team finished in eighth place.
“It’s an intense experience,” Schlosser said. “The venue is huge, there are tons of people and a lot happening. It’s very exciting. I think it’s something the girls will never forget.”
“We have worked so hard this year and we are really hoping to do well at state and maybe even bring home a trophy,” teammate Ashlee Farring said.
“I know we can improve from last year,” Jesica Campos added. “We have been working extra hard this year and hopefully it will pay off Saturday.”
The girls are scheduled to perform their routine 20th, which will be shortly after a 10:15 a.m. intermission. OSAA is offering a live feed of the event for $3.92 via its OSAA.tv network (see osaa.org/cheer for details).