PHS Cheer Wins Nationals and Ends a Great Season
The Petaluma High School cheerleading team has exceeded everyone’s expectations by going further than competition teams in past years and qualifying for nationals. After winning two previous competitions, one of which they hosted, they won first place at the World Class Challenge Championship on Saturday, February 1 in Downey, California. At the competition, Head Coach Ty Camacho was also given the Coach of the Year Award.
Earlier in the season, the NorCal Showdown competition was the first to ever be hosted at PHS, which ended with the PHS competition team’s victory as Grand Champions. During the season, the team’s victories proved that they had the talent and skill to excel beyond what has been accomplished in previous years. There are different elements to cheerleading, including stunts and tumbling, and there are some skills that are helpful for everyone on the team to have in order to receive a high score at competition. Teams are put into divisions based on skill level and because the team does not tumble, at competitions during their season there were not many other teams in their division.
Freshman Kiersten Pate explained how there would only be one or two other teams in their division at competitions so there weren't a lot of challenges. “When we competed for Grand Champion, we competed against everyone, which was really cool because it felt like we earned [the victory] instead of just winning because it was only us,” said Pate.
Pate also explained that the team’s bond is a huge part of their success. Cheerleading is a sport that relies on teamwork and trust, especially in stunts. The chemistry of the team is necessary for them to be able to trust each other. If you are being thrown up into the air by your teammates, you have to be able to trust them to catch you.
The cheer team's head coach, Ty Camacho, won Coach of the Year at the World Class Championship nationals, showing that not only the team but the program as a whole has improved under her leadership. “Being at the competition was pretty intimidating. There were teams that came all the way from Germany to compete. The talent was incredible and we made so many friends,” Camacho said.
The week before nationals consisted of four-hour practices every day, and once they arrived in Downey, the team rehearsed at their Airbnb. The hours of practice had the team as prepared for the competition as they could be. “It’s kind of nuts, really. We drive eight hours for two minutes and thirty seconds of performance time,” Camacho said. “If anything goes wrong, there are no second chances. You have to do it [just] right in that moment.” Camacho and the other coaches m are so proud of how hard the team pushed themselves. She said the choreography was amazing, and the team performed it incredibly. They had a few struggles with their more advanced stunts, but still managed to pull it off well and finished with an excellent routine.
As for the rest of the trip, the day after the competition, the team took a trip to Disneyland to celebrate their victory. “The trip is such a special time for the program. It’s full of new friends and experiences and to be around other athletes who get it,” Camacho said. The trip was also a time for the team to celebrate their season of endless work and success. The 2019-2020 PHS competition team has had their best season yet and has pushed past old records, setting new standards for the future teams to come.