Costa Mesa High's Dasca named 'Cheerleader of the Year'

Costa Mesa High senior Alyssa Dasca admitted being nervous just before trying out to be a cheerleader for UC San Diego this past weekend.

The three-day tryout didn't seem so intimidating to Dasca, the Mustangs' cheer captain. The stress really came from not knowing the San Diego area too well. But once she found the spot, she was fine.

"It was different than something I was used to," Dasca said. "But I just did my best."

Dasca made the team to be a Tritons cheerleader. She went to UC San Diego Sunday to be fitted for her cheerleading gear.

In the process Dasca provided more proof for why she was named "Cheerleader of the Year" by the Golden State Spirit Assn. Dasca found out the exciting news April 20 when she became part of the Western Region Scholarship team, leading the way with a $2,000 scholarship.

She was chosen Cheerleader of the Year based on academic achievements, community service, school involvement and cheerleading skills.

Dasca has spirit, oh yes she does.

She was a four-year varsity cheerleader at Costa Mesa and served as the senior captain this year. She helped lead the Mustangs to several titles, as well as national and world rankings.

In February, Costa Mesa cheer finished sixth in the nation out of 20 teams in its division and the Mustangs finished sixth out of 12 in the World School Cheerleading Championships Team Competition, which included squads from Mexico, Canada and Costa Rica, at the National High School Cheerleading Championship in Orlando, Fla.

The Western Region Scholarship team announcement ceremony took place in Bakersfield. Dasca did not attend and instead watched it online. She said she couldn't hear the sound very well. She knew she had made the team, but she wasn't aware she was Cheerleader of the Year until her coach, Kori Johnson, called her, Dasca said.

"Alyssa has always been a leader," Johnson said. "She is the girl that everyone likes, that no one can say anything bad about, and honestly I've never even seen her mad. She has incredible work ethic and I had no doubt she would win Cheerleader of the Year or make the squad at UCSD. I'm going to miss coaching her."

This is the second straight year that a Costa Mesa High cheerleader has been named Cheerleader of the Year, as Kerlly Castellano received the honor in 2012. Ally Krikorian, a former CMHS cheerleader, received a $1,000 scholarship in 2009 and former Mustang cheerleader Patricia Cruz received a $500 scholarship in 2010, Johnson said.

Dasca is headed to UC San Diego with Biology as her major.

At Costa Mesa, as vice president, she is a member of the Associated Student Body. She is also in the National Honor Society and a member of the Make-A-Wish Club.

It doesn't stop there.

She is in the Costa Mesa Varsity Club, which started this year. It's a club that includes varsity-level student-athletes who participate in various community events.

As Costa Mesa cheer captain, Dasca said her duties demanded constant organization. She had to make sure the squad was aware of game days. She also made sure the team was prepared, and that included going over routines, Dasca said.

"It was a great experience," Dasca said of being the Mustangs' cheer captain. "I had two co-captains [seniors Courtney Hatch and Taylor Jones]. They helped me along the way. It was just fun because I grew up with them."

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