HRV cheer places fourth at first competition

After a 2016-17 season fraught with snow cancellations that allowed HRV cheer only one opportunity to compete, the cheerleaders were able to make it onto the mat last Saturday at David Douglas High School for their first competition of the season and have already tied last season’s total number of competitions.

In one of the earliest competitions HRV cheer has ever been ready to compete in, the Eagles placed fourth in the 5A Division behind The Dalles, Ridgeview and Springfield.

HRV was able to make its debut with a full routine one week earlier than usual as extra practices, a different practice schedule and fair weather allowed them the time to clean up their routine in order to be performance ready. Sanctioned competitions begin as early as December and culminate with the OSAA State Championships Feb. 10. Typically teams can compete in one competition each Saturday beginning in January. This upcoming weekend’s competition at Clackamas High school is usually the first competition for HRV.

This year, however, HRV Head Cheer Coach LisaAnn Kawachi said she hoped to get their season started a little earlier and get the cheerleaders on the mat to work out first time jitters and nervousness. “Typically the first competition is a little overwhelming,” Kawachi said. “The cheerleaders have a lot to think about and are so nervous. The skills they have to execute are one thing, but there’s also the performance aspect in front of a gym full of people that brings on an entirely different challenge. With so many girls new to competitive cheer, it was important for us to just get out there and perform our routine for the first time.”

Of the 17 cheerleaders on the winter competitive team, only four have competed in a cheer competition of this kind. HRV competed last fall in the Oregon Cheerleading Coaches Association’s Game Day Championships, where varsity took home first and third place awards in two divisions, but winter competition is something quite different. For HRV, winter also involves an entirely different team with a separate tryout process.

Most of the team is return cheerleaders from the fall season, but two girls on this year’s team didn’t cheer this past fall and two others are brand new to the sport. Where the Game Day championships focus on crowd leading and the elements of cheerleading incorporated into cheering at games, the competition season is much more intense and encompassing. Competitive winter cheerleading teams have two minutes and 30 seconds to perform a routine comprised of a cheer, dance and stunting pyramid.

Various stunting sequences, jumps and gymnastics are choreographed throughout the routine. Routines are judged based on difficulty and execution, and all aspects of cheerleading come into play where points are given for not only skills, but also loudness, spirit, formations, timing and overall effectiveness.

With their first competition under their belt, the Eagles look forward to building on their routine, cleaning things up and adding more difficulty. HRV’s next competition will be this Saturday at the Cavalier Cheer Invitational at Clackamas High School. The competition begins at 12:15 p.m.

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