By Dalila Romero
For the first time in the history of the program, the Riverside City College’s cheer team won a national title.
RCC’s cheerleaders returned home as the Intermediate All Girl Junior College National Champions at the 2023 NCA.
The five day event took place from April 5 to April 9 in Daytona Beach, Florida.
On a big stage for cheerleaders, they knew their routine had to be executed perfectly which starts with the preparation.
“During practice we would condition, work on different combinations of skills for our stunts,” sophomore base Ivy Martinez said. “Tumblers would throw their tumbling sequences and then we would throw our whole routine full out which means we would do all the skills that are in our routine.”
While the conditioning and tiring practices were large contributors to their success, maintaining a good mental headspace was important to the team.
“We went through as a team more mental than physical,” sophomore main base Destiny Rodriguez said. “We knew we had the talent to win but everyone had to mentally be on the same page of wanting it and put all the fears aside.”
Once landed in Daytona, the cheerleaders were met with many different types of emotions.
“It was very intimidating and exciting at the same time,” sophomore Savanna Shaffer said. “Our first practice in Florida, there were so many teams around us which got a little bit intimidating but that only pushed us even harder.”
This was also not just any competition. The event was broadcast worldwide on Netflix in the past.
“We saw some teams from the Netflix show ‘Cheer’ and being able to see them in person was just really exciting,” Martinez said. “You don’t really picture yourself being next to or competing at the same competition as some of the best athletes in cheerleading.”
Once time for competition, the ladies were prepared and had gone through the routine plenty of times.
Their hard work paid off with a first place finish over top ranked colleges such as Connors State College, Eastern Florida State College, and Iowa Central Community College.
In the event, the max score allowed was 90 and RCC ended with a 92.1713 as their event score.
“It just comes to show that hard work truly pays off. It feels good to know that all the sacrifices we made to be at practice lead us to that moment.” Martinez said. “I just feel blessed to have been able to experience going out to Daytona, Florida with my team, giving it our all and now be able to call ourselves national champions.”
The team attributes its victory to the chemistry each member built throughout the year.
“Hands down my favorite team I’ve ever been on, these girls are so incredibly special to me, I see them like my sisters. I look at them and just see family,” Rodriquez said. “I don’t think there is any other group of girls I’d want to have been with me for this last ride. This team is just indescribable.”
With the win being at the national level, It could bring attention to RCC and RCC athletics.
The Tigers hope that this win will help break any barriers that doubters may have on women in sports since they feel like they have been overlooked in the past.
“This win proves RCC cheer is just as competitive as any other sport on campus and should be treated like one,” Martinez said, “I feel like we get overlooked by the athletic teams here but I hope this proves otherwise.”