Out last week due to a stomach bug, Gabbe Haskins was unable to help her team.
They finished second.
With Haskins healthy and ready for action Saturday, The Dalles competitive cheer squad captured first place in the small coed division and added a Varsity Band Dance/Situational Cheer/Fight Song division title at the Scotsmen Rumble held at David Douglas High School.
“I think that when the girls had to compete without me there, it made them learn to compete under even more pressure than before,” Haskins said. “I think that getting so close to first in our last competition really made us want to push hard and aim for first place this week. Everybody really pushed themselves and I wanted to try to push myself as hard as they did and try to bring even more to our future competitions.”
The Dalles performed their themed throwback routine, choreographed by Tara Mahoney, called, “Heart,” and scored 159.2 points, besting 6A Westview (154.7) and 6A Summit High School (140.2) in their small coed division performance.
In the overall section, the Riverhawks scored 47 points out of 55, added a 61.5 out of 65 in the building section of their routine, and in tumbling and jumps, they scored a total of 53.7 points out of 65.
With one stunting and two tumbling deductions, the team finished with 159.2 points.
Senior captain Giselle Schwartz credited the team’s pyramid section for standing out, especially with all three flyers in tow. “I am really happy with how the event went and how we performed,” Schwartz said. “Of course, there is always room for improvement, and something can always be better. This weekend’s performance definitely strengthened my excitement and optimism for the season.”
Southridge (133.6), Milwaukie (131.5), Forest Grove (131.2), North Salem (127.5), Corvallis (113.2), and Estacada (111.7) made up the rest of the standings.
Four schools were from the 6A classification, four represented the 5A ranks and Estacada is a 4A program.
“I think our team was a little worried about being in the small coed division and being against bigger schools, but this weekend proved that if we work hard, we will be able to be compete against them,” TD senior Alexa Baldy said. “Overall, this has improved our confidence in ourselves and made us more confident in our team and our routine.”
The Varsity Band Dance/Situational Cheer/Fight Song division is a new venture this year for The Dalles, and in this division, cheerleaders perform sideline material that spectators normally see them do at a basketball or football game, so they are judged on their cheer skills and earn points for overall building, as well as jumps and tumbles.
The first part is the band dance, where groups are judged on gameday visual appearance, gameday material, motion technique and crowd leading tools, and execution of skills.
In the situational gameday cheer section, the announcer reads off a cue for either an offensive or defensive cheer and members are judged on gameday situation, crowd effectiveness, motion technique and crowd leading tools, and execution of skills.
Lastly, in the fight song portion, cheerleaders are judged on gameday visual appeal, execution of skills, and motion technique crowd leading tools.
Leading The Dalles varsity sideline group were 15 talented members, and they all combined to tally the highest overall (65) and in building (66) and jumps and tumbles (62) to rack up 193 points for first place, 16 points better than Tualatin (177).
Clackamas (175), Sam Barlow (171), Sherwood (168) and Gresham (153) completed the order of finish.
“It was a super-rewarding day for these kids,” said TD head coach Kelsey Sugg-Wallace. “We had a hard week of practice, and prior to leaving for the competition, we had a pretty heartfelt talk about how hard they would have to push themselves if they wanted to win it. They went out on the mat, and once again, gave their all.”
It was a stark contrast from their first event to the second one, so coach Sugg-Wallace is hoping that what she saw at David Douglas this weekend will give them the push needed to finish out the season strong.
Sugg-Wallace added that it is important that her team remembers that this is not the end.
There are three weeks of practice left before state.
So that means they will work even harder on boosting their confidence on the mat, cleaning up their routine and continuing to improve on their jump and tumble section.
The veteran coach always reinforces the notion of her team putting out a fun and energetic routine that everyone wants to watch and be a part of.
“We watch video of our performance to see what little things we need to fix or change to make it the best possible routine,” TD cheer standout Meli Avila said. “Watching video and taking notes from all our practice and performance takes a lot of time and repetition, but we take that time to fix our mistakes, so we can get better.”
The Dalles cheerleaders perform again at halftime of the varsity basketball game on Friday, Feb. 7 when Hood River visits, and then they head out to the Oregon Elite Classic in Salem on Saturday, Feb. 8.