Contributed photo/Beverly Nañez
The Dalles cheerleading squad put the 5A division on notice with 151.7 points to capture top honors at the Pacer Invitational Cheer Competition Saturday in Lake Oswego, besting second-place Wilsonville (146.3) by 5.4 points. In the photo are, from left to right, starting the back row, Anna Singhurst, Jenifer Salinas, Stephanie Flores, Shivani Patel, Jessika Nañez, Kendyl Kumm, and Karla Hernandez. In the front row are, from left, Mackenzie Smith, Zaida Lopez, Jordy Hattenhauer, Emily Adams, Emma Koch, and Samantha Stanley. Fresh off their first win, the Riverhawk cheerleaders are scheduled to head out to Portland for the Scotsmen Rumble this Saturday from David Douglas High School.
As of Friday, January 19, 2018
Last season, The Dalles cheer team scored 173.8 points to take first overall at the Pacer Invitational.
With a handful of new faces on the roster, and senior veterans Jessika Nañez, Kendyl Kumm, Samantha Stanley, Jenifer Salinas and Shivani Patel solidifying the core of 14, the Riverhawks took home another first-place trophy with a 151.7-point total, besting Wilsonville by 5.4 points in a competitive cheer event held Saturday in Lake Oswego.
Originally, TD had 154.7 points, but due to a pair of dropped stunts, the team had three points deducted.
Even though the Hawks didn’t operate at their peak, they still managed to come out on top.
Now, the goal is to steadily improve off this season-opening effort.
“Our routine wasn’t flawless and that means we definitely have a lot of work to put in and fine details to fix before our next competition,” Stanley said. “I wouldn’t say there is room for major improvement, but we can only get better from here. Every girl on our team now knows what it’s like to compete and the importance of their position. We are constantly tweaking and improving our routine to make sure we can execute it cleanly and safely.”
Following their performance, the Riverhawk cheer members were judged on three different categories – tumbling and jumps, building skills and overall.
Tumbling and jumps consisted of standing tumbling difficulty and execution, running tumbling difficulty and execution, and jump difficulty and execution.
The building skills portion had the cheerleaders looked at for their stunt difficulty and execution of stunts, pyramid difficulty and execution, toss difficulty and execution.
In the overall category, judges evaluated the team’s formations/transitions, motions, crowd leading, cheer skills, dance, showmanship, and routine creativity.
Nañez said that the main goal is to perform a routine with no deductions and that message has been sent to the rest of the team ahead of this Saturday’s competition at David Douglas High School.
“Last Saturday really woke us up and showed us how capable we are of doing super-well, possibly even winning state this year,” Nañez said. “We have a lot of work to do, but our flyers and bases have really stepped up. We’re doing some pretty difficult skills this year and everyone is doing really well. Emily Adams, who’s our only freshman, just got her kick full basket and kick full dismount from a lib, which was really exciting.”
Added to the top finish by the varsity group, the pacer Invitational also served as a historic day for The Dalles’ cheer program, as head coach Kelsey Wallace and assistant Alli Miles fielded a junior varsity team for the first time since Wallace was named coach in 2015.
“Coach Alli has done an amazing job with them,” Wallace said. “They hit every stunt and put out a clean routine in a super-difficult division. They did not place, but it was not about placing. With injuries, they had to re-do their entire routine the practice before and went out and did an amazing routine.”
With their opening performance in the rearview mirror, Kumm said that an important aspect of improvement lies in not what happened in the past, but on looking to the future and how every cheerleader can improve individually, as they work collaboratively on an even better showing at Saturday’s Scotsmen Rumble, an event TD won last year with a combined score of 177.7 and no deductions.
“The win was a huge confidence boost for our team, but we really need to work on being confident on the mat,” Kumm said. “We have such a great routine and we just need to show it off now. Our team, as a whole, has done so good at making changes and adapting well enough to put out a great routine. I hope from here on out, we just continue to improve, so we can bring home a state title this year.”