After months of hard word, two-a-day practices, and team building, the Sonoma State Cheer Team gears up to head to Southern California this weekend for their first national competition.
Valentines weekend marks a weekend of spirit, hard work and dedication, as these women compete for the title Sun., Feb. 14-Mon., Feb. 15 in the United Spirit Association's (USA) Sixteenth Annual All Stars and College Nationals Competition.
"Our strongest element is that they are just a really strong team together," said Coach Lori Kegerreis. "I think that we will do well, but it's hard to know since this is our first year competing."
Kegerreis has been coaching for 24 years, and she and her co-coach Karin McGregor are both NCAA Active Certified Coaches. Before coaching at SSU, Kegerreis coached at Montgomery High in Santa Rosa, as well as at the Junior College. McGregor coached for several years at Rancho Cotati High School.
"The squad has been working extremely hard since November," said Heather Brunner, team captain. "We have been having practices at 6 in the morning and also at 7 at night."
SSU's Cheer performance is two-minutes, 25-seconds long, and consists of a combination of jumping, tumbling, dancing and stunting.
"Our most exciting stunt is called a 'wolf wall,' which I thought was fitting, since we're the Sonoma State Seawolves," said Kegerreis.
The Cheer team has been working on their routine since Nov. 1, and the loss of three of their team members presents a challenge for them.
"It's hard when you've been working on this routine for 20 people, and then you end up losing people, leaving you with only 20. It just means that no one can get hurt, no one can get sick, or we're out," said Kegerreis.
SSU's cheer team is competing in the all-girl, four-year college category, against 12 other teams, including San Jose State, Cal Poly, San Louis Obispo, Oregon State and San Diego State. This category is open to all four-year colleges, nation-wide, so long as the team is all female.
The competition takes place at the Anaheim Convention Center in Anaheim.
For more information about the competition, visit the United Spirit Association at http://www.usacamps.com/competitions.html.
Above, the SSU Cheer Team is competing in the all-girl, four-year college category, against 12 other teams.