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Freshman on Varsity Cheer

By Jasmine Balderas

Freshman Janelle Balderas at varsity cheer practice getting her stunts ready for comp season.

The Rialto High School varsity cheer team is currently getting prepared for their competition season which will possibly start in November. The team practices Tuesdays and Wednesdays after school till 6:30, and Saturdays from 8-12.

Tryouts for the competition team were during the summer in July. Balderas was nervous at first but went into her tryout with confidence. Balderas says, “When I found out I made varsity I felt very accomplished because I put in a lot of time and effort to get where I’m at.” Balderas is one of the three freshmen on varsity.

Being a freshman student-athlete comes with many challenges. Balderas shares that being a student-athlete can be stressful because it’s her first year of high school and she wants to focus on having good grades while still staying involved with school activities. Balderas says, “Sometimes it can get overwhelming because I end practice at 6:30, get home around 6:45-7 depending on if we're picking up food, and by the time I eat and shower I don’t have much time to rest because I have to finish homework.”

Balderas also shares that being the only freshman flyer can be stressful at times. Balderas says, “Sometimes I wonder if I’m on the right pace because the other flyers are older and some have more experience with the harder skills we do.” But being a freshman also has its advantages. Balderas shares that her coaches recognize her for keeping up with the older girls and for accomplishing several skills. The coaches and her teammates make her feel proud of herself and motivate her to keep working hard.

Sometimes teammates on a varsity team tend to not acknowledge a freshman. This wasn’t the case for Balderas. Balderas says, “I actually felt very welcomed to the team and made friendships quickly. A lot of them help me out and give me advice when it comes to stunting and there’s always someone encouraging me when I’m flying.” The varsity cheer teams spend about nine hours a week together so they are bound to create close friendships.

Although Balderas has made many friendships on the team, she says her closest friendship is with Yolany Ortega. Balderas says, “We got close during cheer camp when we got chosen to do partner stunting. Since we were both flyers she was able to help me out. During the session, we kept laughing and making jokes and it was a lot of fun.” Having close friendships makes going to practice more fun and something to look forward to.

Overall being a part of a varsity team, especially as a freshman can teach very valuable lessons. This shapes them to be an even better teammate as the years go on. They will learn and grow at a young age so by the time they are a senior they will be ready to offer advice to the new freshman.

Balderas says she loves everything about being on the team but is still working on a balance between school, cheer, and her social life. Her love for cheers continues to grow and she hopes to continue doing it in the following years.

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