Cheer Team works to be the best

Linda Saholt

News Review Correspondent

Cheer Team works to be the best“Passion and driven cheerleaders only beyond this point,” says a sign on the inner door to the headquarters for the Ridgecrest Xtreme All-Stars Cheer Team.

The team’s members perform at competitions and occasionally at events around town. Their black and silver uniforms are distinctive, with purple and turquoise accents.

Founded by Liza Veliz, Mary La Rosa and Heather Sjothun, the program welcomes potential cheerleaders from ages five through 18 for competition squads, and ages three through five for the Tiny Tots Team.

Classes in tumbling are also offered.

The team’s mission, in addition to teaching proper techniques, is to allow youth to acquire the knowledge and understanding that through hard work and dedication they can achieve success and self-confidence.

The nonprofit competitive cheerleading organization, founded on April 24, 2012, is sponsored by 15 local businesses. Today the group has 26 students, including Tiny Tots.

“I absolutely love this,” said Coach Nikki Gardepe. “I love working with Liza. She’s very organized. When I joined the team, everything was in order. Their website is well done. You know exactly what you’re getting into. Liza is very knowledgeable.”

So far, the team has been in four competitions. “We’re all new. I focus on proper skill progression. I don’t move the team up until the whole team has the proper skills,” said Veliz. The competitors are in age groups, with the “Purple” team representing Youth Level 1 and the “silver” team representing Senior Level 1.

“We hope to grow next season. Right now, we’re at Level 1. Level 2 is back handsprings. It’s a progression. We’re hoping our gym will become more well-known. We believe in safety first,” said Veliz.

Some of the younger team members talked about their favorite activities on the team.

Loren Uetz and Lenae Lugo both love being flyers. Tumbling is the favorite activity of Mikayla Wuest, 8; Olivia Loya, 7; Brooklynn Wallace, 7; and Katheryn Galvez, 7. Janelle Flores, 9, loves doing cartwheels.

Being a “backspot” (in the back bottom of the pyramid, helping hold up the flyer) is the favorite of Karolyn Galvez, 9, and Katrina Tamez, 10. Emily Lewis, 8, and Addison Fortner, 7, enjoy everything about cheering.

For more information about the team, see ridgecrestxtreme or call 252-626-5949.

Story First Published: 2013-03-27