Cheerleading has been a sport at Palomar College for five years, and the team is currently ranked second in the nation in its division.
Palomar’s Cheerleading Team is proud of how hard its members work each year to pump up the Athletics Department and improve as gymnasts and competitive cheerleaders, said Cheer Coach Jamie Arroyo.
The team performs at every home football and basketball game, as well as a variety of competitions throughout their season.
According to Arroyo, the teammates attend and perform at a presidential golf invitational and the USA Nationals in March in Anaheim.
The largest competition the team participates in is the televised NCA Collegiate Championships in April in Daytona, Fla. According to Arroyo, the last time the team won this competition was in 2004, and in 2013 it finished second to Orange Coast College by .55.
“This year we have the strongest tumblers we’ve had in a long time, I think,” Arroyo said. “We’re hoping for the win this time.”
The coach said the season starts off slow, with mostly preparation for games during their summer training. However, he wants to make sure the team members don’t waste time this semester so they will be prepared for the spring competitions.
“I just keep them focused and keep reminding them that there is a light at the end of the tunnel. We have an end goal here.”
Trey Bass, a 20-year-old base on the team, started cheering when he was 18 and continued it into college because of the coach. He also said, “I like performing for people.”
Arroyo said the transition from high school cheer to college cheer is a difficult one for some. They have to get used to having an equal obligation to required school work and cheer practice.
“High school cheer is more ‘Rah! Rah!’ and fun, whereas here we have more of an athletic focus,” Arroyo said. He added that Palomar’s cheer team tries to support the entire field of athletics and show their spirit, while also letting people know cheerleading is a sport as well.
Photography major Savannah Stacy is a freshman on the team, and said via email that the Palomar cheerleaders welcomed her with open arms.
The 19-year-old flyer moved to California from Delaware after graduating high school in 2013, and has been participating in competitive cheerleading since she was 4 or 5.
She said, “Everyone works so hard for a goal that everybody wants to accomplish. Plus, you get to be with your friends! What better way to create moments and memories that will last a lifetime!”
Twenty-year-old flyer Sarah Mitchell agreed that being part of something and working hard for a common goal is the best part of being on the team. Mitchell got her start in Valley Center Pop Warner when she was 8 years old, and has been cheering ever since.
The next cheer performance will take place at 5 p.m. on Jan. 8 in the Dome.