Toppling the defending U.S. Large Coed Division Champion Red Raider squad wasn’t an easy task, but after it was all cheered and done, the Menehune pep squad yelled their way to the top.
“It was a shocker. My girls worked so hard. From the beginning of the year when we went to the Mililani Invitational competition where we took third, the girls got better and understood what we were looking for,” Waimea cheer coach Roxanne Cardejon said.
Kaua’i, who won the past three KIF championships, were the favorites going into this year’s contest, but for the first time since the inaugural competition, Waimea took the title.
The former Kalaheo High School coach entered her first year at the helm of the Menehune cheer program with lots of promise.
“I learned a lot from my coaching experiences and from OIA (O’ahu Interscholastic Association) competitions,” Cardejon said.
Also a former BYU-Hawai’i dancer, Cardejon told her girls to just take it slowly and take it up a notch with each game that passes by.
“We started out with only one tumbler and we ended up with seven at the KIF championships,” Cardejon said.
Up next for the Menehune cheer squad is the HHSAA/Zippy’s Restaurants State Cheerleading Championships on Sunday, March 12 at the Stan Sheriff Center.
“I’m taking the judges’ score sheets and working on things we need to improve on. Now we’re taking that next step up,” Cardejon said.
Natasha “Tasha” Acosta and Shana “Leo” Manoi Resinto are the captains of the team, which consists of four seniors and seven sophomores.
The last time Waimea headed up to the state level, they finished up in the sixth spot (medium division) back in 2002.
The Red Raiders ended up in third place last year in the large division.
Waimea is coached by Cardejon and Harvette Acosta.
Other Menehune cheer squad members are Jalacey Sablan, Rufel Gelbolingo, Courtney Espiritu, Jenna Nakamatsu, Dani Masumoto, Tiare Horner, Sunni Acosta, Resha Banasihan, and Nicole “Nikki” Ishibashi.
- Duane Shimogawa Jr., sports editor, may be reached at 245-3681 (ext. 257) or firstname.lastname@example.org.