Cheer squads eye nationals

Two Kauai Pop Warner Football League cheer squads have taken the leap to the Pop Warner National Cheer and Dance competition in Orlando, Florida, starting Dec. 6.

“The girls are ready,” said Rosie Jervis, cheer coach for the Kapaa Eagles Junior Peewee cheer squad. “This was one of our goals entering the season. With eight returning girls, there is a lot of talent. I’m confident. The girls have a good shot at this competition.”

Jervis, who has brought several other Eagles cheer squads to the national competition, said the JPW Eagles will be competing in the JPW Small, Level II division on Dec. 8 in Florida.

The Eagles were one of five KPWFL cheer squads earning eligibility to the national competition during the islandwide cheer competition earlier in the month. They were joined by the Hanapepe Colts Junior Midget, Level PW3 Medium division, the Colts’ JPW Level PW2 Medium division, the Lihue Patriots’ JM Level PW3 Small division, and the Kekaha Titans Peewee, Level PW3 Medium division.

The Colts’ JM squad, comprised of 12 girls ages 10 through 14, also committed to taking on the challenge of national competition.

“We could have gone last year, but not everyone could agree,” said Harvette Acosta, the Colts’ JM cheer coach. “This became one of our goals this year.”

Acosta and members of her squad were fully engaged in a bake and rummage sale, which was part of the community fun day Sunday at the Hanapepe Stadium complex.

“First, this is a fundraising effort for the Hanapepe Pop Warner Association,” said Cherie Linoz, president of the HPWA. “The second reason for the event is to help with the cheer squad’s goal of getting to the national competition in Florida.”

Kaylee Ragudo, one of returning Colts JM cheerleaders, has been cheering for five years, since she was 9 years old.

“I’ve never been to Florida,” Ragudo said. “It’s a little nervous because we watched video of some of the cheerleaders and they’re really good.”

Lily Cummings is a four-year veteran for the Eagles cheer program, helping with cookie sales Sunday at Walmart. Her sister, Ariel, was among the last Eagles cheer group to compete at the Florida nationals four years ago.

“Cheering is fun,” Lily said. “Sometimes, it’s difficult to get the stunts, but we work at it and we get it.”

Kaysha Mundon, 8, is one of the younger pepsters excited about the Florida trip, which will start Dec. 4.

“I’m looking forward to the competition and having fun,” Mundon said. “It’s fun cheering, but the most difficult part is making sure my arms and legs are tight so we don’t fall during stunts.”

Ashley Alfiler, 11, adds strength to the Eagles’ base.

“I’m looking forward to just hanging out with friends,” said Alfiler, a five-year cheerleader. “I like stunting where you have to make sure the flier doesn’t fall.”

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