Edgren, Kinnick cheerleaders capture Far East championships
November 14, 2008
It’s one thing to get to the top. It’s another to stay there.
But the cheerleading teams from Robert D. Edgren and Nile C. Kinnick high schools in Japan are proving their worth at staying atop the gold medal mountain.
Last week, at South Korea’s Yongsan Garrison, Kinnick won its third straight Class AA team title in the Far East cheer competition while Edgren captured its second consecutive Class A championship.
The competition included 12 teams from Department of Defense Dependents Schools▬Pacific and Domestic Dependent Elementary and Secondary Schools▬Guam.
"This year was stressful. We kind of doubted ourselves. But we pulled through," said Edgren senior captain Heather Eiler, who competed despite a fractured left wrist.
This was the ninth year the combined camp/clinic/competition has been run by officials and coaches from the National Cheerleading Association. The competition previously was held in conjunction with Far East boys basketball tournaments and was run by the cheer teams’ coaches and sponsors.
During the five-day activity, NCA officials drilled and then evaluated the teams in cheers, sideline chants, stunts, dances and other activities.
"You’re also improving on the skills that you already have," said Eiler’s teammate, senior Erika Williamson.
Along the way, four of eight Eagle squad members were nominated for NCA All-American honors. Williamson and junior Ashley Hawkins were selected, Edgren coach Pamela Tucker said.
Winning the team championship outranked individual performances in Eiler’s eyes.
"Last year, we put Edgren cheerleading on the page," Eiler said. "We came back this year and showed we can do it twice. We’re not going away. We’re here, and we can compete."
The Kinnick Red Devils team was forced to compete with only nine of its 10 members when an injury to junior Joshua Oliver’s arm kept him out of the competition.
"We really had to pull together to make the routine just as good as it was with him," said junior Jordan Hunt, a second-year member and co-captain of the Kinnick team. "We didn’t have as advanced material as we did before [Oliver’s injury], so we really had to make it work, and it turned out good enough."
Junior Sarah Herranen said it’s a testament to Kinnick’s work ethic that the team has sustained a high performance level — individually and as a team. Seven members were nominated for NCA All-American, and five received the honor: Herranen, Hunt, junior Naomi Ruiz and sophomores Alisa Arrona and Dominic Rodriguez.
"The beginning of this season, we had all new people. We had hardly anything. We had to put it all together," said Herranen, a member of each of the past three championship teams. "Eventually, we get stronger as it goes, but it is rough."