Keeping Colton High School Informed Since 1917

The Pepper Bough

Keeping Colton High School Informed Since 1917

The Pepper Bough

Keeping Colton High School Informed Since 1917

The Pepper Bough

Cheer brings home trophy for Colton

Competition cheerleader Isabella Winter shares her story of Cheer’s successful trip to the USA Spirit Nationals
Courtesy of Isabella Winter
The 2023-2024 Competition Cheer squad poses with their 3rd place trophy, won at the USA Nationals during the weekend of Feb. 16-18, 2024.

The Pepper Bough editorial staff approached cheerleader—and Pepper Bough contributor—Isabella Winter to write a running diary of her experience with the competition cheer team during their three day trip on Feb. 16-18 to compete at USA Spirit Nationals.

Held this year at the Anaheim Convention Center in Anaheim, Nationals hosted 365 cheer squads from across the country in multiple divisions.

Competing at Nationals for the first time since 2016, Colton High’s competition cheer team placed third in the “Coed Varsity Show Cheer Non Tumbling Novice” division. Of the five teams in their division they were the smallest, with only 13 cheerleaders: eight fewer than 2nd place La Habra and 10 fewer than 1st place Leigh High. Colton scored a zero deduction, indicating a mistake free performance.

This caps a successful competition season for Cheer in which the team placed first at the annual SHARP competition and came in sixth of 18 squads at CIF.


The cheer squad shows off their spirit backstage at the Anaheim Convention Center on day one of the Nationals. (Courtesy of Isabella Winter)

This weekend our Colton competition cheer team traveled to Anaheim for USA Nationals.

The day starts by getting up extra early to make sure everyone gets to the bus on time to leave. We take our final team pictures and board the bus. Everyone is talking about how excited they are to hit our routine. 

Day one of Nationals is nothing but excitement. 

Everyone is stretching and warming up to perform for the most important competition of the season. As we wait for our turn to warm up we sit and watch the other teams to try and get an idea of what is to come for when we step out on the mat. 

Our coach pulls us aside to have a pep talk with us. She tells us that we’ve worked so hard all year long and to go out there and leave everything that we worked so hard for on the mat. 

Finally it’s our turn to warm up and we’re ready and locked in. Each stunt we go through hits and no one is worried about anything by the time we are done. We keep reminding ourselves and our teammates that no matter what happens to keep pushing and leave everything on the mat. 

Now it is time to perform. We get in a circle and say a prayer for the last time, take a deep breath, and we’re ready. 

Stepping on the mat there are bright lights shining in our faces and we can’t see anyone in the audience. All we can do is give it our all. 

And just like that it’s over. The music stops and we’re running off, proud of everyone for giving it their all and pushing through two minutes and thirty seconds. Our parents are waiting for us backstage, proud of us and congratulating us on how hard we worked. 

We make our way to the awards presentation and sit in a circle, holding hands, praying our hard work pays off. Waiting is the worst feeling ever when you don’t know what the outcome will be. We sit there waiting for them to announce what place we got. Our team agreed that no matter what place we get, we’re still proud of what we accomplished. 

Then the announcer said that Colton High School placed third in the top three. 

When we hear this we are so happy and excited. Later that night, our coaches read us the score sheet and we learn we were only 0.3 points away from second and two points away from first.

Senior cheerleader Raymond Mendoza says, “When I left that mat all I felt was an emotional feeling because knowing that performance was my last one, best one with my family. Through the entire season we have stayed really strong and to bring home third place is a huge part even though we were half a point from second place. The half a point shows that Colton cheerleaders put in all their hard work and energy into what we love best.”

Group portrait time at Nationals. This is obviously the goofy photo op. (Courtesy of Isabella Winter)

Day two of Nationals is more of a reward day where we get to relax and enjoy our time there. 

We had a team lunch and talked about how this weekend couldn’t be any better. Most of the team spend time in Downtown Disney and appreciate everything that brought us to this moment. However, some cheerleaders stay behind to get ready and practice for their All-American Performance the next day. 

All-American is recognized and chosen at summer camp by USA staff. The award goes to the most spirited cheerleader. At the end of the night the whole team gets together and has a movie night to enjoy each other’s company for the last time as a team.

Competition Cheer took home some impressive hardware at USA Nationals. (Courtesy of Isabella Winter)

Lastly day three of Nationals was out last day together. 

All-American is performing that day, so we get up early to watch them along with other cheerleaders from different schools. We’re so proud of our All-American cheerleaders Aubriana Burgos, Christian Jason, Gennesis Delgadillo, Kaila Aparicio, Kendall Smith, and Raymond Mendoza. Getting the title as an All-American is such a big accomplishment and not easy to get. 

We sit in the front, cheering them on when it is performance time. After they come off the stage it is time to go home.

Our season is over. 

We had so many great memories and formed a bond that’s like family. 

Samantha Gonzalez sums everything up perfectly for us. “It’s such a bittersweet feeling knowing that the season is over. We turned friendships into family and created amazing memories together. We have put endless hours and energy into our two minute and thirty second routine and are proud to bring home another trophy for Colton!” 

Coming home with a third place trophy is not a loss. It is one step closer to getting first. Now Colton is ready for bigger things.

Going for Gold in 2025.

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About the Contributor
Isabella Winter
Isabella Winter, Staff Writer
Bella Winter is a freshman at Colton High School. When she's not cheering for the Yellowjackets, you can find her at the Pepper Bough writing about events, or recent news.
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