AHS Cheer

(top row) Serenity Bruning, Molly Myers-Haeussler, Charlotte Crowson, Jillian Cordova, Noelle Tessmer, Lulu Gilbert, Rachel Lawful. (bottom row) Kate Downing, Gianna Rosenboom, Paige Pender, Anna Gibb, Amber Serna.

Facing the top competitors from schools around the country, Arcadia’s Spiritline made its very first appearance at the USA Spirit Nationals. Held in Anaheim, California, the Cheer team placed eighth out of 27 in their division, and the Pom’s Jazz routine earned fifth place out of 12. 

“Advancing to finals was a moment we only could have dreamed of at the beginning of the season,” said varsity cheer Coach Dani Miller. “For this being a first-year cheer program, we have surpassed all expectations and made our mark in the competition world.” 

All the tumbling, stunting, conditioning, pyramid-building and choreography of the cheer routine started to take formation back in August. Three days a week, the 44 girls in the Titan Spiritline would wake up before sunrise for a 5:45 a.m. practice. Twice a week, they would practice for 90 minutes after school. During the competition season, the competition team put in an additional four hours of practice on Saturdays. All of this was in addition to cheering during the school’s sporting events.

All of those early mornings, long days and late nights led up to the final moment when the team tumbled, stunted and cheered through its two-minute and 30-second routine, which earned them a spot in the top 10. 

Spiritline Booster President Sue Tessmer  said a mere hundredth of a point can be the difference between 1st and 2nd place. 

“Specifically, on the cheer side, only one point separated 1st place from 10th place. That kind of gives a good understanding of just how difficult it is to score in the top 10. Truly, it is an honor just to be invited to Nationals,” said Tessmer. 

Squads’ routines are scored by several metrics, such as degree of difficulty, precision, timing, tumbling, energy, performance and crowd involvement. 

The Cheer Team performed one routine during Nationals and the Pom Team performed a pom routine and a jazz routine. 

“As a coach, the feeling of Nationals is exhilarating. I have spoken highly about the level of skill and excitement that comes with Nationals. I know the feeling of getting to perform and showcase what you have put in so many hours on,” said Miller. 

The Cheer team also placed second at an Arizona State competition and third at the AIA State Regional show, plus fifth at the USA regionals, where they qualified for the national competition.