Newport Harbor High School's pep squad has been named overall grand champion at the team's first dance competition in years.
The squad traveled to West Covina High School on Saturday for the Sharp International Competition, where it also took first place in all divisions, including mascot, baton and varsity show cheer, according to a news release.
The team took the grand champion of the day based on overall scores after going up against two colleges and multiple high schools, advisor and coach Kris Higman said.
"The girls and boys have been working so hard and for us to win overall for the day was crazy," she said.
Assistant coach Amanda Pabon and coach Alysia Cornwell also contributed to the team's success, Higman said.
The team has been working on its routine since early August, between football games and other cheer duties, she continued.
Higman said her philosophy is that the only way to excel is through competition.
"It raises the bar," she said. "Many of the students had never competed before and they performed so beautifully, but sometimes it's what the judges think."
Harbor is now qualified for the Sharp National Competition in Las Vegas on April 20.
— Jamie Rowe