Who is Diego?
“Diego” is part of the Kapaa High School cheer squad motto — Quitters Never Win; Go, Diego, Go! They participated in the Kauai Interscholastic Federation cheerleading competition Thursday night at the Kauai High School gym before an enthusiastic audience of cheerleading supporters and families.
The Warrior cheer squad, under the leadership of coach Roseanna Jerves and captains Raja Counts and Makenzie Cummings, came up short of the lead with an evening’s 278.25 points.
The Kapaa total that included judging of three competitive jumps, was just about 26 points (25.75) better than third-place finisher Kauai High School, coached by Ciara Caires, with team captains Kayana Goias-Jerves and Holly Taguma. They piled up 252.50 points.
Kauai High School alumnus Dillon Ancheta, coming home to emcee the event, announced the winner — Waimea High School, with 335.00 points. The squad earned eligibility to represent the KIF when the 2019 Zippy’s Hawaii High School Athletic Association cheerleading competition takes place at the Blaisdell Center Arena on Oahu on Nov. 9.
The reaction to the win started when Ancheta announced the runner-up squad, sending the Menehune into a sit-down frenzy accompanied by the enthusiastic cheering from the blue-clad Menehune fans.
Coached by Roxanne Cardejon and team captain Ashlynn Agena and co-captains Zyanna Vea and Kyrie Linoz, the Menehune squad smartly worked with strength and precision through the three competitive jumps, one incorporating the most current rules revisions by the National Federation of State High School Associations related to minimizing risk of injury to dance and cheer team members.
“This was one of the most competitive events,” Cardejon said. “But it’s a win-win for everyone. We know about the sacrifices put in by the parents and the cheer squad members starting with cheer camp and continuing throughout the year. This was more challenging.”
The young Menehune squad has just one senior, Vea, who was also named to the KIF all-stars list during ceremonies recognizing those cheer members who enjoyed their final competitive showing for this school year.
Kapaa fielded a young team with no seniors, and Kauai High School has four seniors: Taybree Ann Silva, Justine Solsoloy, Nicole Baguyo and Jaylynn Mexia.
Joining Vea on the KIF all stars are Menehune Agena, Linoz, Shai-Lein Acosta and Isley Ulanday. All stars from Kapaa include Counts, Chanelle Estenzo-Contrades, Cummings, Miranda Duarte and Japlee Souza-Lim.
Kauai High School members to the KIF all stars include Goias-Jerves, Taguma, Jubilee Mexia and Jaylynn Mexia.
With the win, Waimea continues its string of victories that started back in 2003.
“There was a two-year period during that period where I took a break,” Cardejon said. “But we’re back, and looking ahead to the state championships. We have two weeks to work on our weaknesses. If we can bring our spirit from tonight to Oahu, we hopefully will do good.”
Menehune cheer squad includes coach Cardejon, assistant coaches Iris Hesapene, Marissa Hesapene, Sunni Hew and Keiki Martin, and members Ashlyn Agena, Cailin Pasion, Kemana Martin, Hailey Ragasa, Kyrie Linoz, Isley Ulandy, Shai-Lein Acosta, Kiara Gandia and Maeani Arbilera.
Dennis Fujimoto, staff writer and photographer, can be reached at 245-0453 or firstname.lastname@example.org.