Saugus High School made history on Saturday when its varsity competitive cheerleading team earned runner-up honors in the first-ever CIF-Southern Section championships held at Colony High School in Ontario.
Competing in the top division, 1AA, Saugus came in second to Mater Dei High School of Santa Ana out of more than 80 other CIF-SS schools. The two schools have battled it out throughout the year for the top spot amongst Southern California’s elite competitive cheerleading squads.
“When we walked in it was very nerve-wracking because we all knew that just even being there was an honor,” said Saugus senior cheerleader Hailey Hernandez. “It was a positive but a stressful atmosphere because everyone wanted to perform very well to prove to everyone that cheer is a very hard sport and should be recognized for the hard work that we put into it.”
Officially a CIF sport for the first year, the cheerleading competition was judged off routines like stunting, tumbling, dance and cheers. Saugus was the lone representative from the Santa Clarita Valley, proudly competing in the top division out of 11 other divisions, which included schools such as La Serna High School, Newport Harbor High School and Mater Dei.
“It was very emotional to say the least,” Hernandez said. “We were all very honored to show what Saugus is actually made of because there has always been doubts about cheer not being a sport, but it was nice to finally be recognized and show everyone what we are really made of.”
The Saugus cheerleading squad will compete in one final Southern California cheer competition this weekend before heading to The Universal Cheerleaders Association National High School Cheerleading Championship in Orlando, Fla. and the USA Spirit Nationals in Anaheim in February.
“The sport of cheerleading is just beginning to grow immensely and proving to everyone that we are athletes,” Hernandez said. “We put in all the practice, all the time and hard work that other sports do and it’s finally nice to be recognized as a sport.”