As of Wednesday, January 31, 2018
BATTLE GROUND Among the cheerleading teams converging upon the local High School this Saturday will be the Sunnyside Grizzlies Cheer Squad.
The Grizzlies are competing in the 4A non-tumbling co-ed division again for the second year in a row. The team is set to perform at 5:10 p.m.
The team qualified after competing the past two weekends.
On Jan. 13, the Grizzlies were first at a competition hosted by Hanford, but its score of 53.75 wasn’t enough to punch a ticket to the state championships.
After tightening its routine, adding a few partner stunts and touching up the finer points, the team traveled to Moses Lake for its final opportunity to showcase the Grizzlies’ talent.
“We had to be smart about the changes, and we had to be able to execute them,” Grizzlies coach Alejandra Ramos said.
They claimed the competition’s first-place trophy and a score of 73.5, good for that coveted state berth.
“It’s the highest score we’ve ever received,” Ramos said.
The team is looking to best last year’s performance. The Grizzlies were sixth in their division, 40th overall.
This year, there are just four teams competing in the same division, including Cascade (Everett), Hazen and Richland.
The Grizzlies know they have their work cut out for them, and because other teams compete in multiple divisions, they won’t be the overall titlist, Ramos said.
They would like to perform better than the others in their division, she said.
Getting to perform at the championships is exciting, Ramos said.
For the first time, she has a 4-year cheerleader. Prior to Samantha Gonzalez joining the team, freshmen weren’t allowed to do so.
“She’s experienced as a base and a flier,” Ramos said.
That experience has been valuable to the others, she said.
“It’s encouraging to see the growth of the team,” Ramos said.
There are three stunt groups with five boys, and the team consists of a total of 12 members instead of 16 this year.
Ramos said it’s challenging as a coach, but the routine has been tailored to impress the judges.
“The judges are looking at partner stunts,” she said. “The addition last week made a big difference.”
Scores are divided into jumps, tumbling and degrees of difficulty for the skill, combination of skill, number of skills, and pace and speed.