Cheerleading squads from Valley high schools gave strong performances at the recent national competition in Florida, with one reaching the finals.
Squads from Van Nuys High School, Agoura High School and El Camino Real High School in Woodland Hills finished in the top 20 in their respective divisions, with Agoura qualifying for the tournament’s final round.
Each division had from 20 to 70 teams. El Camino Real finished eighth out of 20 and Van Nuys finished 17th out of 27 teams.
The tournament, sponsored by the Universal Cheerleading Assn., is one of the biggest national competitions of the year. Roughly 330 teams attended the competition, which was held earlier this month.
Squads are grouped into different divisions based on size, ages and other factors, such as whether there are male members.
The teams said they were satisfied with their performances.
“The competition is really tough out there,” said Cheri Brown, coach of the Van Nuys squad which, for the first time, included boys. “You try and learn from the experience. We completed our routine, no problem; it just wasn’t difficult enough.”
Shelly Marshall, an advisor to the El Camino Real team, agreed that her squad also needs to create a routine with a higher degree of difficulty to improve their finish next year.
“Each tournament is different. In Florida, they look for a lot of tumbling and that’s not our specialty,” she said.
On the other hand, that’s where the Agoura team thrives, Marshall said.
“They have always had that reputation. They are great at tumbling,” Marshall said.
The three schools will participate in various tournaments in the coming weeks. This weekend the Van Nuys team will compete in the finals of the National Cheerleading Assn.'s state tournament after finishing fourth in the tournament’s first round.
“I’m not sure we’re ready to win the whole thing,” Brown said. “But we really have done a great job so far.”