Varsity Cheerleading Competition Team Place Fifth at NCA Competition

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By Caitlyn Resurreccion
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(Photo courtesy of Head Coach Renesha Kierstedt) At the National Cheerleaders Association (NCA) Senior and Junior High School National Championship in Dallas, Texas, the team had a successful competition, nabbing fifth place in the High School Large Division category.

With a state title under their belt, the MHS Varsity Cheerleading Competition Squad traveled to the National Cheerleaders Association (NCA) Senior and Junior High School National Championship held in Dallas, Texas from Jan. 21 to 22. The team, which is composed of 19 cheerleaders, endured a stressful preliminary round along with a jam packed finals schedule, but ultimately placed fifth overall in the Large Division category. Along with the high placement finish, the team also received the Superior Showmanship Award and awards for Sideline Cheer, Line Dance and Fight Song categories.

“I’m so proud of my team. Despite everything we had to endure (this) season, such as injuries and schoolwork and our personal lives, we always persevered and never gave up. We fought all season long in order to be where we are today. I love them so much and I’m so glad I was able to take on this journey with them,” said Senior Jasmine Olmos.

The two minute and 30 second routine is judged on the level of difficulty, execution and the dance and cheer sections which give the audience a chance to be part of the routine. “Because we were the only team from Hawaii, what better way to represent than to bring some of Hawaii (into) the routine. In the routine, we incorporated hula movements and hand motions taught to us by (Senior) Jordan Domingo,” said Coach Renesha Kierstedt.“The girls really do leave their heart on the mat and perform the best that they can. As a coach, you can’t ask for more when you see that level of commitment.”

Although this isn’t the first time MHS has competed nationally, the thrilling atmosphere and excitement of the competition had the team ready to take the mat. “Everyone was nervous. But as soon as the announcer announced Mililani High School, it seemed like all the nerves just disappeared and the only thing running through my mind was perfecting this routine,” expressed Olmos. “We attended this competition last year and placed in the top 10. Since last year’s girls had so much success, we thought, ‘why not come back and see if we can place higher?’ Besides that, the competition also is a learning experience for the girls and gives us the chance to assess where we can get better,” said Kierstedt. “All the teams competing (brought) their A game.”

For several of the girls on the team, the NCA was the first national competition they participated in and therefore, required a role model for leadership. “Coach (Kierstedt) is really the biggest reason why we all got through the season. She’s always on the sidelines yelling and screaming whenever we land our stunts and jumps correctly and she’s constantly giving her support to the team. She just projects so much positive energy to the team whenever someone feels like quitting,” said Olmos. “Last year, I was part of the squad but I didn’t get the chance to go (to Dallas),” said Junior Ashley Koza. “(So) I was nervous, but all the girls made me feel like the competition wasn’t (miles) away, they didn’t even make it feel like a competition. It felt like we were back home on the gym mat.”

While the main objective of the trip was to compete in the competition, the remaining time was spent sightseeing around Dallas and enjoying the company of one another. “After the stress of the competition was over, the girls visited Baylor (University). We also did some sightseeing. (We used) a couple of days before we left to enjoy ourselves and celebrate an amazing accomplishment,” stated Kierstedt.

With the NCA competition now being an annual trip for the team, the returning members plan to continue to practice in order to place even higher, while those members who are seniors enjoy the remainder of the time competing in their high school career.