The Dalles High School cheerleaders participated in the National Cheerleading Association ‘Get Shocked’ Cheerleading camp on the campus at Oregon State University from July 11-14 in Corvallis. In the photo are, pictured from left to right, starting in third row, Kim Bobadilla, Bryonna Otzoy, Cacie Clauseen and Mckailla Tyler. In the middle row are, from left, Carey Stone, Meara Crawford, Giselle Schwartz, Mackenzie Smith, Samantha Stanley, Kendyl Kumm, Ella Morgan, Yajaira Madrigal, Yohanna Castro, Tristyn Thomson, Sophia Pullen, Willow Drake, Sakari Bova, Jenifer Salinas-Deras, Shivani Patel, Emily Olivian and Stephanie Flores. In the front row are, from left, assistant coach Andrea Pena, Hannah Caracciolo, Jessika Nanez, Kaylee Cates, Sydney Fransen, Abbey Helseth, Keagan Rice, Halle Haskins, Crysta Harris, Hannah Wallis, Sareni Belen, Megan Kendall and head coach Kelsey Sugg. The Riverhawks picked up first-place honors in the large division and also won best all-around at the camp. In all, six cheer members were nominated for All-American status, and the quartet of Helseth, Rice, Nanez, and Kumm were selected to be a part of the All-American Cheerleading team as selected by the camp judges. Contributed photo
All 32 members of The Dalles High School Cheer team, and coaches Kelsey Sugg and Andrea Pena, attended the National Cheerleading Association “Get Shocked” Camp from July 11-14 at Oregon State University in Corvallis, captured first place in the large division and won best all-around honors.
In all, TD members Keagan Rice, Kendyl Kumm, Sydney Fransen, Jessika Nanez, Hannah Caracciolo and Abbey Helseth were the six members nominated to the All-American squad with Helseth, Rice, Nanez and Kumm earning All-American status.
The audition consisted of three consecutive jumps, a tumbling pass, and then the cheerleaders had to perform the camp cheer.
They were judged on difficulty and proper technique in jumps and tumbling, spirit and energy, voice, and sharpness of motion.
“For the girls who won awards, they really deserved it,” Helseth said. “They worked hard and deserved what they earned, we all did. After performing and even during the last few days of camp, we all became closer as a team and made deeper friendships with each other.”
The four camp days consisted of long days of hard work beginning at about 7 a.m. and ending at 8 p.m. each night. The girls learned different dance routines, from a Pom routine, to hip hop and a camp dance.
They also learned a cheer and participated in a variety of stunting and tumbling classes.
From Day 1, the cheerleaders were given a camp buddy, who helped them choreograph a three-minute routine that they performed on the final day.
The routine consisted of tumbling, jumps, motions, stunts, and a dance, basically like a mini-routine.
TD received first place in the large division and won the best all-around routine.
“I learned that this group of girls are really amazing at picking up new material and making things sharp,” said Rice, an incoming senior. “Our coaches even said they couldn’t point out who would be varsity and who would be junior varsity. I felt like our team needed to excel in stunting. And for the most part, we did. Our JV girls really stood out at camp and the varsity level ended up getting some difficult stunts we’ve been working on.”
Sugg and Pena fielded 32 girls at camp, by far the biggest group they have had in recent memory and the largest group at camp.
Instead of splitting up their teams into two groups before attending camp, Sugg had a plan to try something new this year in an effort to keep the Riverhawk squad together since teams have not been named.
“Camp is a really hard, tiring, fun, stressful four days, but the progress that the girls made in four days was unbelievable,” Sugg said. “I was really worried putting that many girls out on the floor together, but I was so amazed by how far and how quickly my freshmen and sophomores and new juniors picked up and our team blended as one.”
While TD had great success at camp this year, the most meaningful thing they took home was the memories, the love of cheerleading and learned the true meaning of teamwork.
Meara Crawford felt as though the group excelled most with the dances, but also noticed a big improvement in stunting.
Sereni Garcia and Helseth were the team’s two “Pin-It-Forward” recipients, as selected by the staff buddy. Nanez and Garcia entered the “Top Gun” event, where they had to do five consecutive jumps, and both Kumm and Caracciolo entered the “Top Gun” tumbling portion.
Fransen entered the “Top Gun” dancing portion and was selected as a finalist.
“Abbey (Helseth) and Sydney (Fransen) are amazing dancers, Kendyl (Kumm) has great tumbling as well as Hannah (Caracciolo), and Keagan (Rice) and Jessika (Nanez) have great jumps,” Crawford said of her teammates. “They all put out hard work, and showed dedication and displayed maturity.”
Although young in terms of experience, this team has talent at all levels, and will have another year under the tutelage of Pena and Sugg to take another step higher up the cheer ranks.
Helseth, another incoming senior returner, is excited about the potential of this team moving forward.
Crawford said there are still areas she needs to improve, but that she will use her camp performance to inspire a more intense summer regimen to sharpen her stunting and flexibility.
“Even though we don't have many returning girls, I have so much faith in this team,” Rice said. “The talent is amazing and refreshing. It feels like a new beginning. But, not in a way where we are starting at the bottom again. We will achieve amazing things with this talent.”