The Hood River Valley High School winter cheerleaders took the mat for the first time this season competing in back-to-back competitions Jan. 19-20, where they placed fourth and second, respectively, in their division.
In the first competition on Jan. 19, the Eagles travelled to David Douglas High School. There, they met fellow 5A teams Ridgeview, Milwaukie, Eagle Point and Willamette. This competition was the first of the season for the Eagles as they performed their two minute, 30 second routine comprised of stunts, jumps, tumbling, dancing and cheering.
“It was great to see them perform,” said HRVHS head cheer coach LisaAnn Kawachi. “The first competition is always so stressful for everyone. They just need to get out on the mat and work out those first-time jitters.
“They did well,” said Kawachi of HRV’s fourth-place finish. She said the veteran cheerleaders did a great job keeping the team focused and providing encouragement. The team has five seniors, all of whom have competed before, which is a nice change from last year, when virtually all members of the winter team were new to competitive cheer.
With their first competition behind them, it was a quick turnaround for the Eagles as they travelled back to Hood River just in time to get ready for HRVHS’ winter formal scheduled for that same evening. Many of the cheerleaders attended the dance at the high school and then got up early the next morning to make their way to West Linn High School for Sunday’s competition.
Although this competition had a few less teams in every division, Hood River was not lacking competition. At West Linn, Wilsonville dominated the 5A division and finished in first ahead of the Eagles.
“We made a few tweaks to the routine and were able to score better than yesterday,” said Kawachi. “We added some additional stunts that morning, and the girls executed them well.”
Despite these changes, though, Wilsonville remained out of reach for HRV. “Wilsonville is an amazing team,” said Kawachi. “They are one of the best teams in the state and our difficulty level is just not in the same range as theirs yet. We will continue to practice and add difficulty to our routine, but for right now, I couldn’t be happier. I’m very proud of our team for making the needed adjustments while still giving a strong performance.”
Adjustments seem to be the norm for this HRV team, as they were already forced to perform a modified version of their routine for the weekend due to injuries and eligibility issues. With the resolution of a few of those issues, the team was able to regroup this week during practice and prepare for their next competition this Saturday at Clackamas High School.
“We had some injuries that forced us to modify and rework some elements of the routine,” said Kawachi. “We have a couple of those girls back now and are ready to continue to make things sharper and cleaner and increase our difficulty in preparation for our upcoming competitions and ultimately, the state championships. I’m really looking forward to seeing what these girls can do and how their performance will continue to develop and improve each week.”
The HRVHS cheerleaders will compete at Clackamas High School this Saturday, Jan. 26 and then at Tualatin High School on Feb. 2. Their competition season will culminate at the OSAA Cheerleading State Championships on Feb. 9 at the Memorial Coliseum in Portland as they compete against the other 5A teams in the state.