Three Cheers Fot The Cheerleaders
Nailing every stunt and stepping in perfect synch, the Mililani Trojans win the OIA cheerleading championship, unseating powerhouse Moanalua
By Kerry Miller
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Moanalua won the junior varsity competition with
this routine. From left: Kera Lee, Karen Lee,
Teana Ortego, Jenna St. Pierre, Rachael
Ostovich, Jasmine Galicinao and Maricel
Maybe we should have seen this coming a year ago. Mililani High, which won the 2005 Oahu Interscholastic Association junior varsity cheerleading title, walked away with the varsity crown at last weekend’s OIA championships, edging Radford.
With many of the ‘05 JV girls now varsity, the Trojans upset long-time cheering power Moanalua, which took third, in competition at the Leilehua High gym in Wahiawa.
For those with an eye to the future, the Menehune took this year’s junior varsity competition, and are expected to be strong again in 2007.
Wearing inflatable ducks, yellow visors and tears of joy, the girls of the Mililani cheerleading squad accepted their first-place trophy.
“This is a very big honor for the girls,” Mililani coach Renesha Kierstedt says. “They worked hard for it.”
The Trojans took to the mat last and knew what they had to do. They came out and impressed the judges with an in-synch, well-executed routine, looking proud in their brown-and-gold uniforms, and chanting, “The Trojan team is here!”
Mililani’s squad cheers to victory. From left:
Marcy Chun, Taylor Kam, Desiree Toribio, Allysen
Kikumoto, Brandee Koyanagi
“Very exciting,” says Kierstedt. “If I had to choose one word, I would say ‘Wow!’”
The victory was all the more satisfying because going into the OIA competition, explains freshman Chelsea Villamor, the team struggled with its routine.
“The fact that we hit all the stunts was shocking,” says Villamor, adding, “It was a good experience to see high school cheerleading.”
Spoken like a freshman. Teammate Tracy Martinez agrees. “We had our stunt sequence. We worked really hard, but had a hard time. Right before we went on, we had to get motivated. That was the main thing, we wanted to hit (all of our stunts),” she explains.
Sophomores Chelsie Ebear, Dez Toribio and Martinez had words of wisdom for the rest of the team before hitting the mat. Confidence, the three say, is a big reason why Mililani took first place.
“We told each other we would do our best and that’s all we could do,” Ebear says.
Working out energetic routines to music by Jay-Z, Black-Eyed Peas, Missy Elliott and Sean Paul, mixed with spirited cheers, teams from Castle, Moanalua, Radford,Aiea, Pearl City, Leilehua, Kapolei, Roosevelt, Farrington, Mililani and Kalani high schools lit up the gym, showing off their athleticism with back flips, tumbles, pyramids and incredible tosses.
Radford’s JV placed second
overall. From left: Shanequa
DeJurnett, Britneyrose Wyche,
Hillarie Kusac (back), Bridget
Dickens (in air)
Regardless of the final scores, cheer squads from each of the schools sat together in the bleachers and cheered each other’s routines. Coach Darcie Yukumoto of host Leilehua, who watched her girls overcome injuries and fatigue to place fifth, summed it up best: “Everything went awesome!”
Plus, she says, “All the squads enjoyed it because Wahiawa is cool (temperature-wise).”
Having coached for 15-plus years, Kierstedt is no stranger to competition. After graduating from Mililani in 1993, she coached for three years, left and has been back at the helm again since 2003.
The OIA top seven - Mililani, Radford, Moanalua, Castle, Leilehua, Pearl City and Aiea - will compete in the state meet at Stan Sheriff Center, where they’ll face powerhouses such as Kamehameha and Lahainaluna.
“We’re going to focus on our routine and clean it (for the state meet),” says Kierstedt. “Kamehameha is really awesome on the floor and so is Lahainaluna.”
Following the state meet, Mililani heads to the national competition at Knotts Berry Farm in California on March 25.
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