By CLAIRE ST. JOHN
Cheerleaders are always there to bolster their teams, make sure the crowds are riled and keep school spirit up.
But on Sunday, Oct. 12, Sonora High School's cheerleaders will be cheering for themselves as they compete against similar teams from across the state at the California Invitational Championships in Modesto.
Sonora High School cheerleaders haven't formally competed in more than 30 years, said varsity Coach Jennifer Grant.
Grant and junior varsity Coach Andria Anderson took over the team in May, held try-outs and immediately started talking competition.
"When I first mentioned I'm taking them to competition, their jaws just dropped," Grant said. "Once summer started, I mean, these girls just blew us away. I thought 'they deserve to go to competition.' "
Grant and Anderson are trying to give Sonora High's cheerleaders an opportunity that the two young coaches 21 and 20, respectively never got when they were on the Sonora High team.
"Ours was a good experience, but I want the girls to get more, I want them to get exposure," she said. "It's going to be different, very different."
Practicing a routine since May and raising money selling root beer floats and washing cars and Harley-Davidsons have kept the teams busy, Grant said.
So far, the team has raised enough for matching jackets and sport bags, but still needs to raise the $37 per person competition fee. With 33 cheerleaders planning to compete, the team still needs $1,221. Team members are banking on more root beer float sales, car washes and community generosity to get them to Modesto.
Friday night, the two squads will get some public exposure as they cheer on Sonora High's football teams at the first game of the season.
But they won't be doing the routine they're working on for the invitational.