Crimson Chronicle Reporter
Similar to other sports, cheer has missed out on their season due to COVID. Not only did that prevent the students from participating but they lacked a coach as well. This year is different though, as they have secured a coach, Derrick Washington. Though the preparation for tryouts were rushed, some of the students had to move and make time to cheer at the last minute.
Cheer’s football season had been postponed due to Washington not being cleared in time. “We weren’t able to do a football season, that was different,” said cheer captain Jimena Lopez. But now they’re working towards cheering for basketball as well as competition season.
Like most sports there is no coach without a team and there is no team without a coach, “really just to kind of guide and support the cheerleading squad” said Washington. Washington said that this is an opportunity give back to the community.
Washington has previous experience when it comes to cheer as he had been a part of the cheer team at Palmdale High School in Antelope Valley and has also been the mascot and cheered at CSUN. Not only does he cheer but he also runs a non-profit adult cheerleading squad called West Hollywood Elite. That’s how he heard about the opening for a cheer coach.
Getting the cheer squad together wasn’t easy. They did try and do something to keep the cheer squad going during quarantine but it was a challenge. The cheer squad has to also start from scratch, “We had a lot of girls before COVID that had already had experience and now post COVID there aren’t many girls with experience” said previous cheerleader Emily Montenegro. That wasn’t the only obstacle, many of the students who went to try out either didn’t have their paperwork turned in or were not fully cleared. Numbers had dropped from around 36 to 18.
Although students are encouraged to try out even though official try out days have passed, it will be a challenge when it comes to cheering for the basketball team because they’ll be behind. Incoming members are expected to learn cheers quickly and have them memorized. This standard is difficult but isn’t impossible, “Yeah, if you want to come learn the cheers or one of the cheerleaders wants to take you aside. I don’t think we’re closing our doors to anyone.” said Washington.
After almost two years cheer has made its comeback and they’re looking forward to get back into cheering.