LIHUE — Blue Pride exploded Thursday night as Kauai High School cheer squad was named to the No. 2 spot at the Kauai High School gym.
The announcement signaled that Waimea High School cheer squad was the winner of the Kauai Interscholastic Federation cheer competition that unfolded before an enthusiastic audience where Menehune fans filled more than half of the Kauai High School gym.
“The support, Waimea Menehune Blue Pride Chomp, was awesome,” said Waimea cheer coach Roxanne Cardejon. “We had people from all of the sports from the football team to the girls volleyball team who just returned from their state competition. The cheering kept the girls hungry out there, and they wanted more.”
Following a two-and-a-half minute routine that included stunting, jumping,and cheering, the Menehune cheer squad led by its only senior, Kaira Kelekoma, piled up 466 points to capture the KIF title.
Kauai High School, loaded with 11 seniors and two freshmen, finished the competition at 401.5 points. Kapaa High School, fielding three girls for the competition, only saw 341.75 points come off the judges’ boards.
“We had to plan this out,” Cardejon said. “We’re a young team with just one senior. But Kaira worked hard to lead the team of 10 girls. Together, they put in 100 percent, and they were all-in.”
Joyce Evens, the masterful emcee for the evening, announced the KIF cheer all-stars while the audience went through waves of anxiety waiting for the final scoring tallies.
Raja Counts, Chanelle Estenzo Contrades and Makenzie Cummings were the all stars coming out of the Kapaa squad. The trio was joined by Leslie Acoba, Isabel Gampon, Tiffany Sagucio, Kazlee Ishikawa and Kozlyn Ishikawa of the Kauai High School squad. Waimea rounded out the all star listing by naming Kelekoma, Ashlyn Agena, Zyana Vea and Cailin Pasion to the KIF all star roster.
With the KIF title in hand, the Waimea cheer squad earns eligibility to represent the KIF at the Zippy’s Hawaii High School Athletic Association cheerleading 2018 championships, which will contest Nov. 17 at the Blaisdell Center Arena on Oahu.
“We still have work to do,” Cardejon said. “We have to tighten up our pyramids and work on getting a little cleaner and crisp in our jumps and stunts.”
Waimea last captured the state championships in 2011 and 2012. In both years, Waimea got past Moanalua High School in the Medium Division competition.
Waimea cheer squad members include senior Kelekoma, Agena, Vea, Pasion, Jayla Albina, Samaria Kelley, Kyrie Linoz, Isley Ulanday, Shai-Lein Acosta and Deyshia Kenney.
Dennis Fujimoto, staff writer and photographer, can be reached at 245-0453 or email@example.com.