The Dalles competitive cheer squad’s routine theme this year is heart.
Given the amount of adversity they had to overcome this weekend, the Riverhawks left their coach proud for leaving their heart on the mat Saturday.
Performing without Gabbe Haskins, out with the flu, and overcoming a music malfunction, The Dalles put up 149.8 points to take second place at the Pacer Invitational in Lakeridge.
“If not having a flyer wasn’t stressful enough, our music completely stopped in the first part of the routine and cut in and out during the second half (dance portion), but they didn’t let it frazzle them and just kept going,” TD head coach Kelsey Sugg-Wallace said. “We knew going into competition today that we would be without Gabbe and competed marking her place. Meaning we couldn’t fully execute our entire pyramid and took a major hit in our building/stunting skills.”
On the mat, the Riverhawks opened with a music section (stunting/jumps tumbling and motions/pyramid) and then moved into their cheer section and ended with a dance routine.
In the small coed division, Westview had 161 points for first place, The Dalles put up 151.8 points and was docked two tumbling penalties to take second place with 149.8, and Beaverton scored 135.7 points to take third place.
“I am so happy about the debut of our routine,” said TD senior captain Giselle Schwartz. “What this weekend taught me was that we can adapt and persevere, which are really important skills to have in this sport. If we can do that well without a flyer, I know that we’ll do even better with her.”
The Dalles rattled off the highest score in their division with a 50 out of 55 in overall performance, which consists of formations/transitions/routine motions/crowd leading/showmanship/routine creativity).
Next up was the jump tumble and the Hawks had a solid 52.5 out of 65.
Those jump tumble skills included standing tumbling difficulty and execution, running tumbling difficulty and execution, jump difficulty and execution.
As far as the team building portion is concerned, The Dalles ended up getting 49.3 out of 65, as they were scored on stunt difficulty and execution, pyramid difficulty and execution, cheer skills and building creativity.
“The team was well aware of how important it was to fight for every other point on the score sheet and that meant executing our stunts that we could do well, focusing on clean tumbling, and putting out a strong and energetic routine, which is exactly what they did,” Sugg-Wallace said. “They hit everything we asked them to hit. I was so proud of them and can’t wait to take the mat with our whole team next weekend with everyone healthy.”
In addition to competitive events, The Dalles also participated in the game day band dance, situational cheer and fight song division with its sideline competition team.
Unfortunately, they didn’t place this weekend, but Sugg-Wallace said it was a great opportunity for her group and that they will continue perfecting their routine for this next weekend.
On Saturday, Jan. 25, TD goes to David Douglas High School for a competitive cheer event, and heads to Salem on Saturday, Feb. 8 at the Salem Pavilion.
“We are excited to finally debut our full routine this weekend and to show our competition what we can really do,” TD cheer senior Sophia Pullen said. “I am confident that we will show ourselves as more of a threat once we show our full potential on the mat.”
The 5A OSAA state competition is slated for Saturday, Feb. 15 at Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Portland.