By Maria Flores; April 27, 2021
As student-athletes await the return of in-person practices and competitions, the CPP Cheerleading Team continues virtual practices despite several pandemic-related challenges tossed their way.
Previously, the cheer team was spotted twice a week at the Kellogg Gymnasium located in front of the BRIC, as they practiced their stunts, pyramids and cheers. Due to the pandemic, the team was forced to move virtually and host practices through Zoom.
One of the biggest challenges for the team’s captains — Alexa Oliva, a third-year apparel merchandising and management student, and Crystal Lopez, a second-year psychology student — were the performance issues during Zoom practices.
“Our coach is very adamant about being all together and in unison,” said Oliva. “We (captains) make sure we are all on count and it’s very hard to see if people actually knew the dance.”
“Since the camera is inverted, you can’t really see in detail as you would in person,” adds Lopez. “I think that it is a struggle and getting people to come to practice because everyone’s schedule is really hectic with COVID-19, especially with people who need to work.”
Through Zoom, cheer practices are held on the last fortnight of each month from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Its echos and glitches were not the only complications the team faced, as recruiting new members proved to be challenging. Last year, the captains held try-outs through a video submission link.
“In the video we had to put our position, the stunts we can hit, if we tumbled, the dance, the fight song, some cheers and introduction to yourself like what year you were in, your major and your cheer experience,” said Meagan Jardinel, third-year business accounting student and third-year cheerleader. “It was a process that took two to three weeks and we got a lot of new members.”
Currently the CPP cheer team consists of 22 members. With upcoming tryouts the captains are willing to expand their team to 30 members. Registration was open from March 27 to April 15.
Despite the obstacles the pandemic brought forth, the cheer team lifts its spirits through their “cheer sister.”
Phoebe Granado, second-year history student and second-year cheerleader, revealed it was her coaches’ idea to form and strengthen the bond with the new members of the team. Each returner was assigned a ‘cheer little,’ while a ‘cheer big’ stabilized and enforced their bond.
“To CDC regulations, I made sure my ‘cheer little’ was OK. We wore masks, gloves, everything and met outdoors,” said Granado. “It was a nice opportunity to meet someone new on the team that we haven’t already previously talked to. ”
While CPP’s sport participation is slowly opening, on March 30 the Blueprint for a Safer Economy revealed Los Angeles County had transitioned to the orange tier, therefore allowing gyms and fitness centers to open indoors with proper CDC guidelines of sanitation and disinfection procedures.
This gives hope for the CPP cheer team to compete sooner than expected. Before the pandemic, the CPP cheer team attended basketball, soccer, and volleyball games, but Granado recalled the last in-person performance was the basketball victory game.
“We won at the last three seconds, the basketball went in, the score went in, everyone jumped and the crowd started screaming, ‘We made it to the tournament,’” said Granado. “Through this all, what we want our cheerleaders to do is be good representations on campus. We really do love this sport and that we are able to cheer for our school.”
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