- Video shows the Tehachapi High School cheerleaders preparing to take the national stage and represent their community in Anaheim.
- The cheer team recently placed second at the CIF competition, and they're looking forward to head to nationals in two weeks. It will be the first time the team will compete at an advanced level.
- Cheerleader Lauren Rosales is eager to get to the national competition. She says, "I want to represent our school and show that we do have something because not a lot of people see that."
The Tehachapi High School Warriors are looking forward to their next competition. The cheer team recently placed second at the CIF competition, and they're looking forward to competing at nationals in a couple of weeks at Disney Land.
"Once we get on the mat, I get calm. I've been on the mat before, and I pinpoint my mom and dad in the crowd, and once I see them, I'm fine," Lacey Lathrop said.
Lacey Lathrop is a senior this year. Finding her parents isn't the only thing that anchors her during competitions. Her team does, too.
"It's like a sisterhood. The more you're in it, the more time you have with the girls and you become sisters. We spend more time here than we do at home," Lathrop said.
The closeness is both on and off the mat. Ana Orozco says she enjoys practicing and getting ready for competition, and once she's there, she says it's surreal.
"It's the nerves and the adrenaline that kick in. Sometimes, you look back and think, 'Wow, I really did that,'" Orozco said.
The pre-competition nerves aren't just felt by the athletes…coach Katy Licon feels it too.
"Usually I'm scared, nervous... my heart is pounding," said Licon. "But I'm so proud of them."
The team is preparing to head to the national competition, and she says this year is the first time they'll compete at a more advanced level.
"We're such a small town. When you go down to nationals in Anaheim, these schools come from all over," Licon said. "I try to prepare them the best that I can to get there and do their best and put it all out on that mat."
Lauren Rosales says she's excited to represent her town.
"Some people don't believe in us. That's not true because our school sports do play with a lot of heart," said Rosales. "I want to represent our school and show that we do have something because not a lot of people see that."
Once the competition lights go down, coach Janice Luper says she hopes the experience stays with them.
"You really do it for the kids. Just hoping that one moment or one thing that you've taught these kids makes a difference," Luper said.
In January, the team placed second out of 18 teams at the CIF competition. Lacey Lathrop said it was a special experience.
“We’ve never competed in a division that big," said Lathrop. "Once we competed in that division and placed second, we were super excited and proud.”
The national competition runs February 16 through 18 in Anaheim, Calif.
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