Cheerleaders take MHS spirit to Texas for national championship

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By Risa Askerooth
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(Photo courtesy of Coach Renesha Kierstedt) Even though the trip was extremely stressful and demanding, the cheerleading team was able to use the challenges that they went through to fuel their desire for improvement and growth as a team in future years.
(Photo courtesy of Coach Renesha Kierstedt) Even though the trip was extremely stressful and demanding, the cheerleading team was able to use the challenges that they went through to fuel their desire for improvement and growth as a team in future years.

For the first time since 2007, 19 cheerleaders embarked on a journey to the National Cheerleaders Association (NCA) Senior and Junior High School National Championship, held in Dallas, Texas on Jan. 23 and 24. The MHS team, comprised of 16 varsity and three JV girls, faced off against 21 other teams in the nation and overcame injuries and obstacles along the way, ultimately nabbing seventh place overall.

“I am very proud of my team because through all of our injuries, tears, blood, stress, schoolwork and four different routines, we still came together and pulled through to work to the best of our capabilities. I love this team no matter what and I am proud of them,” expressed Senior Cydney Meneses.

Their routine involved a fight song, a line dance and time out cheer, as well as a performance of 2 minutes and 30 seconds that involved both cheer and dance. On the first day of competition, a fall during the routine left everyone shaken, but the team finished strong by supporting each other with determination. “I think they call me the shouting coach because in some of the videotapes, all you hear is me screaming like crazy, crying at the same time. But I was shaking, my other coach was shaking, parents were screaming,” said Coach Renesha Kierstedt. “But they were all together, that’s what made me the proudest.” Meneses added, “This team knows how to suck up everything and go for it because we’re an all-in team.”

Having not been to NCA nationals since almost a decade ago, the atmosphere was unexpected but exhilarating. “It was something different and unusual for us,” Freshman Lexi Hara recalled. “Right before we (performed), it was very breath-taking, especially for our biggest routine.” Kierstedt added, “NCA Dallas is the Mecca of Mecca. This is the best, this is the highest nationals that any high school can go.”

From the time the team touched down on Texas soil to the time they departed, their itinerary was filled with hours of practicing and competing, as well as sightseeing on their final day away from Hawaii. “The schedule was really busy and tiring, but eventually it is all worth it because we are able to learn and strengthen ourselves,” expressed Hara. “Basically, this whole trip has been jam packed with fun, stress and new memories,” said Meneses.

The team was able to develop an even closer connection after training and competing together at nationals. For seniors competing for the final time in their high school career, the trip was especially meaningful. “The favorite part of this trip was performing with my cheer sisters for the very last time since it’s my last high school competition and making more memories with them for the last time,” said Meneses.

After placing in the top 10 at the national level, Kierstedt plans to make this visit to Dallas an annual one, in hopes that it will further impassion members of the cheerleading team in years to come.