Contributed photo/Beverly Nañez
The Dalles cheerleading squad scored 156.9 points to capture first place at the Scotsmen Rumble last Saturday from David Douglas High School in Portland, the team’s second straight win. In the group photo are, from left to right, starting in the top row, Emily Adams, Emma Koch, Karla Hernandez, Giselle Schwartz, Anna Singhurst and Stephanie Flores. In the second row are, from left, Jordyn Hattenhauer, Mackenzie Smith, Jessika Nañez, Shivani Patel and Jenifer Salinas. Kneeling down in the front row are, from left, Zaida Lopez, Kendyl Kumm and Samantha Stanley. The competitive cheer squad heads to Clackamas High School starting at 11 a.m. this Saturday for the Cavalier Cheer Invitational.
The Dalles cheerleaders have competed in two events and come away with back-to-back wins.
Even with the top performance, head coach Kelsey Wallace and her athletes feel that they are not close to realizing their potential.
Saturday at David Douglas High School, the Riverhawks had a final score of 156.9 with five deductions to chalk up first-place honors at last weekend’s Scotsmen Rumble.
“I believe that our best is yet to come,” TD head coach Kelsey Wallace said. “I think they now have had a glimpse of what it feels like to not feel good about what was left on the mat. They only have two minutes and 30 seconds to show and give it all they have got. They don’t get a re-do or a do-over. We have worked for nearly seven months on these sills and it all comes down to one performance that is only a few short weeks away.”
Of the three categories, overall routine consisted of formations, routine creativity, motions, voice, cheer, dance, and overall impression, and The Dalles tallied a 56 out of 60.
In tumbling and jumps, the team had to perform standing tumbling difficulty, standing tumbling execution, running tumbling difficulty, running tumbling execution, jump difficulty, jump execution, and synchronization, which they hit for 61 out of a possible 80 points.
Building skills, one of the more challenging events, involved stunt difficulty, stunt execution, pyramid difficulty, pyramid execution, toss difficulty, toss execution, and building skills creativity, which they tallied a 44.9 out of 80 on the scorecards for a 156.9 total after five deductions.
Following The Dalles in the 5A team standings were Ridgeview (151.2), Springfield (143.6), Hood River Valley (137.5), Churchill (126.5) and Parkrose (125.5).
At last week’s Pacer Invitational, the Riverhawks took home a first-place trophy with a 151.7-point total, besting Wilsonville by 5.4 points, so a five-point improvement is a show of progression.
“It feels great to be winning our competitions, but we definitely have room to improve,” TD freshman Emily Adams said. “Everyone on the team has the same goal to improve and put out a clean routine on the competition mat. Our jumps have been really strong, along with the cheer portion of our routine, so now we want to get better in those areas, and overall.”
With such a young team, coach Wallace is encouraged by what she has seen from a handful of underclassmen and first-year participants.
Over the next few weeks, she wants the team to click more and become more unified, with a collaborative goal of wanting to do well when the lights are brightest on the big stage.
“I am proud of Mackenzie Smith for stepping in as an alternate and being so flexible to learn any new spot that was needed of her last week,” Wallace said. “Karla Hernandez is a super-strong base and asset to our team in many ways, Stephanie Flores took a really hard catch on Saturday, but she stood up and finished the routine out strong, and Emily, our first-year freshman, continues her strong and impressive tumbling passes.”
After last Saturday’s competition in Portland, Wallace and her squad were back at work Monday for a solid practice and stamina-building exercises, mixed in with a film study session for some routine changes to end their final competition on a successful note.
“Last weekend’s performance wasn’t our best, it definitely made us realize there’s room for improvement,” Karla Hernandez said. “This is my first year doing cheer, but our routine has so much potential and I know if all of us work our butts off at practice and be consistent with everything, we’ll do great later on.”
Mackenzie Smith is adamant that winning a state title is not far off.
She sees the fight, she sees the work is being put in, and she knows this team is hungry for a win.
Once everyone is on the same page with health, the top scores will come.
“Like every sport, there is always ups and downs, but when the going gets tough, we cannot let it defeat us,” Smith said. “Instead, we will apply positive changes and strive for the best we can put on the mat and a put forth a routine that we can be proud of.”
Up next, TD takes a trip to Clackamas High for the Cavalier Cheer Invitational at 11 a.m. Saturday.