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The Tongva Times

The Tongva Times

The Tongva Times

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Cheer begins season of unrelenting spirit

Bren Belmonte
   Passion. Pride. Spirit. 

By Jordan Hum | Staff Writer

   These three words encompass everything that the Gabrielino High School cheer team is about. As a new season rolls around, the team is as excited as ever to continue showing their enthusiasm at sports games and various school events.

   With the cheer season starting in early fall, tryouts took place at the end of last school year. After a week of stunts, dancing, and conditioning, 12 returning cheerleaders were joined by 16 new recruits to form the 2022-2023 cheer team. 

   “Tryouts were more difficult than I thought they were going to be,” reminisced senior captain Ashley Uenishi. “There was a surprising amount of conditioning including bleachers. It was tough.”

   Even before the school year started, this year’s cheer team had a unique experience, diverging from the usual activities held during summer. While a typical pre-pandemic summer camp sees the team travel to Palm Springs for team bonding and practice, this year the camp was optional and held on-site at Gabrielino. 

   “Summer camp was a great learning experience,” expressed freshman Kim Mills. “It gave me a lot of time to get some extra practice and it was nice to be around the girls I’d be spending the year with.”

   Once football season rolled around, the squad was out on the track showing their support. On a gameday, the squad performs for the entirety of the game, performing various dances, cheers, and chants. 

   “It’s definitely hard to perform for that long,” senior Sofia Meza remarked, “but having the team with me makes it way easier.”

   In addition, the team performs several acrobatic tricks every game, or what the team calls stunting. These stunts involve flips, throwing and catching members, and holding members up in the air. Due to their dangerous nature, these stunts require a great amount of trust, all of which is built through camp and practices. 

   This year, the team consists of four captains. Senior Hannah Patterson is the all-squad leader, Uenishi and junior Jocelyn Gu are varsity captains, and freshman Michaela Lau is the varsity co-captain. Lau is in a unique position in that she was given a leadership role in her first year on the team. 

   “Honestly, it’s a privilege to be given a group to lead even though I don’t know too much about the other members,” Lau said graciously. “Some of the [team] have known each other for four years but I just see it as a new perspective for me to come in and lead, especially since I’m very nonconfrontational.”   

   As the team pushes through football season, they remain enthusiastic in all aspects, whether it be at games or pep rallies. However, there is something special about “Friday Night Lights” that excites the team more than anything. 

   “The highlight of my season so far was that first home football game,” Patterson reflected. “The atmosphere was special and it felt electric.”

   Although the school year can feel long at times, cheer is sure not to let it deter them. Through thick and thin, the cheer team will always support Gabrielino with unwavering spirit. It is a testament to their dedication and a display of their camaraderie.

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About the Contributor
Bren Belmonte, Staff Writer
Bren Belmonte is a Photographer and Staff Writer with three years of experience on our newspaper team. Outside of journalism, Bren enjoys cosplaying, photographing friends, reading manga, watching anime, and listening to music. Bren chose the journalism class in sophomore year after encouragement from family members in the industry. Since then, they've recognized it as a future passion and career interest.
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