WAIMEA — Natasha Daligcon, former KPWFL cheer coordinator, is battling a deadly cancer, said Sherri Ephan, KPWFL cheer coordinator.
“In honor of October being Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and for my friend and sister, I want her to know how very much loved and appreciated she is to me, and to our island,” Ephan said. “All of our Pop Warner teams have been wearing pink to support (her) and the fight against cancer.”
Seven of the eight teams vying for eligibility in the National Pop Warner Cheer and Dance competition emerged from the field Sunday.
“Sunday was a jam-packed gym at the Clem Gomes filled with lots of fun and team spirit,” said Ephan. “We had a total of 19 performances with eight being competition, and in the end, seven of those eight qualified for the national competition in Orlando, Fla.”
Of the eligible teams, four are from the Junior Peewee division and three are from the Junior Midget division.
“This is a unique opportunity for the kids,” said Mel Rapozo, a co-host of the event with Gayle Thompson, and a Wescon representative from Hawaii. “I’ve been to the Florida competition, and in order to make the winner’s list, you need to be pretty much perfect.”
Team earning eligibility in the JPW division include the Kapaa Eagles (56.30 points), the Hanapepe Colts (68.80), the Lihue Patriots (57.40) and the Kekaha Titans (76.17).
Of the teams, two will be competing in the Medium division, the Hanapepe Colts getting the PW1 level and the Kekaha Titans going in the PW3 level. For the remaining teams, the Kapaa Eagles will be in the Small PW1 level, the Lihue Patriots get the Small PW2 level.
Competition was even tighter in the Junior Midget division, where the Hanapepe Colts JM cheer erupted in glee after edging out the Kekaha Titans by just over two points.
Both teams compete in the small division, PW2 levels, the Titans earning 80.17 points for second place while the Colts finished with 82.20 points from the panel of judges, which included Head Judge Troy Lazaro, a former Waimea HS cheerleader, Avery Kano, a former Kauai HS cheerleader and cheer squad adviser, Nikki Ishibashi, a former Waimea cheerleader and designated to represent Na Lei Mokihana O Leinaala as the Miss Aloha performer for the 2014 Merrie Monarch Festival, Casey Owens, a former Waimea cheerleader, and Blossom Caballero, a Moanalua High School former cheerleader and owner of a cheer gym on Oahu.
The Lihue Patriots (81.73) JM squad round out the cheer squads earning eligibility for the national competition.
The task before the squads’ advisers is determining to make the trip, or not. The national competition is contested during the first week of December at Disneyworld, and time for fundraising is short.
The excitement level was pumped up a notch by performances from the Kapaa High School and defending Kauai Interscholastic Federation champion cheer squad, Waimea High School with help from the audio skills of Mercy Sanchez of Blaze Entertainment who donated his services and equipment for the overflow crowd.
With the end of the KIF football regular season, Pop Warner football games open from 8 a.m. Saturday at Vidinha Stadium, when the Kapaa Eagles Mitey Mites host the Kekaha Titans MM, followed by the Eagles JPW kicking off against the Titans JPW at 10 a.m.
A showdown looms for the Lihue Patriots Junior Midgets at noon when it kicks off against the Koloa Redskins JM.
The Patriots JM must win the Saturday encounter to force a showdown for the title against the Kapaa Eagles on Nov. 10 in Hanapepe at a time to be determined.
The nightcap starts at 2 p.m. when the Patriots JPW kicks off against the undefeated Hanapepe Colts. The finale will have the Lihue MM kicking off against the Hanapepe Colts MM at 4 p.m.
• Dennis Fujimoto, staff writer and photographer, can be reached at 245-0453 or dfujimoto@ thegardenisland.com.