On Sunday, Nov. 23, the Winters Jr. Warriors cheer program sent five squads to compete in the 2022 JAMZ competition. Of the five, the Jr. Midget Cheer squad and the Midget Cheer squad qualified for Vegas Nationals.
The JAMZ championship competition is where teams from all over California get judged on stunting, overall performance, tumbling difficulty/execution, choreography and dance.
“The judges also look to see how confident the athletes are in their performance,” said Midget cheer head coach Desiree Santillan.
The teams that qualified for Nationals, based on their score at the state level, then get to make their way to Las Vegas where all the teams in their division come together to compete in the JAMZ National competition.
The Winters Jr. Midgets and Midgets competed against eight other teams in their division and stood out among the rest. It was a long day for the Jr. Warrior cheer teams who arrived at noon and stayed until 7:30 p.m. to prove that they had what it takes to compete at a National level.
The Jr. Warrior cheer coaches began preparing all five cheer squads at the beginning of the season, by teaching first-time cheerleaders the basics of cheer and then working their way into the routines.
“We did have a few squads this season who had a new routine just for competition alone, which meant some squads learned two or three different routines this season,” said Santillan.
While learning two or three routines throughout the season is a challenge in itself, one of the biggest challenges when it comes to cheering is that a routine can change at any time, even right before a performance for many different reasons. The Jr. Midget and Midget cheerleaders are very flexible when it comes to last-minute routine changes and are more than capable of working together to overcome any obstacles as a team.
“I believe their stunting abilities and willingness to try new stunts is one of their biggest strengths, stunting is not easy for many and all of our cheerleaders always put in a lot of work and effort to learn and execute what their
coaches envision,” said Santillan.
The Winters Jr. Midget and Midget cheer squads have put in the work to qualify for Nationals, now they will need to practice even harder as they will face thousands of cheer squads, dance teams and spectators.
“Competition is the highlight of the season for the cheerleaders and what they look forward to most every season,” commented Santillan.
The Jr. Midget and Midget cheer teams will be combining into one squad for our very first Nationals performance that will be held Jan. 20–21, 2023. There are currently 12 cheerleaders committed to competing. The Jr. Warriors program does plan on fundraising to help ease the cost of sending these girls to Nationals and will be depending on the community and their supporters to help contribute in any way that they can.