Marina cheerleaders put another ring on it
The Marina High cheerleading team has had to overcome a fair amount of adversity this year.
It’s a young team, with a sizable number of freshmen. And at Saturday’s CIF Southern Section Competitive Cheer Championships at King High in Riverside, a fall occurred early in the Vikings’ routine.
“It’s just a matter of recovering,” said Marina junior Kaylen Tran, one of two team captains, who has the position of side base. “We just needed to leave that in the past and do the rest of the routine … The energy on the floor was good, no matter how we felt about the fall.”
The Vikings were rewarded for their perseverance.
Marina won the competition in Division 4A. It is the Vikings’ second straight CIF Southern Section title.
“I feel like it was kind of unexpected in a way, but we did work really hard for it,” said Marina senior main base Maleah Gamblin, the other team captain. “Even the two weeks before were difficult, we had injuries happening and stuff. It was nice to be rewarded for that ... We were just taking pictures [after we won] just taking it all in. It’s always a difficult moment to process. We didn’t hit a zero [deductions] routine, but it was a good routine and we recovered so it felt good to win like that.”
Marina’s other varsity seniors include Mia Bontrager, Hailey Jamison, Addison Persall, Heidi Chisnall and Hannah Piper. Jordyn Bustamante and Annika Weber are the other juniors on the team, while Marley Ware is the lone sophomore.
Freshmen in the 15-member floor group included Karly Lemmon, Abigail Dakin, Taryn Klasson, Dorsey Tran and Keira Galiana.
“A lot of tears of happiness, that’s for sure,” longtime Marina coach Vraunwyn Denny said. “They’re young but they’ve delivered.”
Denny also thanked her assistant coaches, Lexy Gutierrez and Katie Shetland, for the dedication to the program. Gutierrez graduated from the Marina cheer program in 2016 and has been coaching at her alma mater ever since.
Next up for the Vikings is this weekend’s CIF State Regional Cheer Invitational, held at Mira Costa High in Manhattan Beach. Marina competes in the non-tumbling, small school class.
Then it’s off to the Universal Cheerleaders Assn. High School Nationals in Florida, which begin Feb. 10. Marina has also won two straight UCA Nationals titles.
In other CIF Southern Section results, three-time champion Costa Mesa finished fourth in Division 4A. The Mustangs had won a title every year since cheer debuted as a CIF sport in 2018-19.
“We had some falls so we took fourth,” coach Kori Johnson D’Agostino said in a text message. “Hopefully [this] week at state they redeem themselves.”
Edison placed eighth in Division 1A, while Newport Harbor (fourth place) and Huntington Beach (eighth) competed in Division 2AA.
Fountain Valley was sixth in Division 2A, and Ocean View finished 10th in Division 4A.
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