The Cheer Program is Ready to Shine


Shandy Carlson

CCHS cheerleaders Brooke Lewis ‘24, Julia Walton ‘24, and Mikey Black ‘24 smile from the sideline at the 2022-2023 Senior Night. Next year, these athletes will have to adjust to significant changes to the program and work hard to fulfill the season’s new theme: Be a star!

The Cathedral Catholic Cheer Team is making fundamental changes for the upcoming 2023-2024 season. Some of these include weightlifting sessions multiple times a week, consistent practices before school, and mandatory competitions for the Varsity squad. These efforts are in hopes to build a stronger team to skill build more efficiently this season.

Going into my fourth year on CCHS’s cheerleading team, I know how necessary these changes are. Our team has so much potential, but we constantly feel pressed for time while preparing the halftime performance. These morning practices will be held at Cathedral twice per week, allowing for an additional hour of time to block the routine on the field. Although some may dread the early start, it will pay off in our rapid skill building.

The coaches staff was also revised by adding an additional Varsity coach, Isaiah Cortez. This balances the instructors between the Junior Varsity and Varsity teams— each with two coaches. Kendall Edwards was moved to Junior Varsity to assist the existing coach, Ashley Paradise. These adjustments allow Shandy Carlson, Director of the Cheerleading Program, to focus on organization, updates, and Varsity-specific concerns. Having the extra support was necessary to create an efficient Varsity team and prepare them for competitions.

In the past, those interested in competing for the CCHS cheer team needed to perform at an additional tryout. However, this year, all Varsity athletes are required to attend competitions, and Junior Varsity members are eligible to try out. This pushes athletes to be committed to their sport, requiring more intense and lengthy practices. In the 2021-2022 season, the competition team won a Division 1 CIF title; but the following year, the team didn’t get enough attention to even attend the competition. By mandating competitions for Varsity athletes, the school has more opportunities to benefit from reputable awards.

During extreme weather conditions, like dangerous heat or rain, practices will be relocated to Legion Sports Center. Many CCHS athletes are familiar with this space already from competing with Pacific Beach Allstars San Diego. This space has a tumble track, several springed floors, full length mirrors, and is the perfect space to rehearse choreography for routines. This protects athletes from risks like wet mats as dew forms on the mats after sunset. This has been an obstacle in the past but will no longer restrict the program.

At the new athlete meeting, the team was told to download the app Volt Athletics, which was unfamiliar to even returning members. Because the CCHS weight room is difficult to schedule for 52 girls, this app will allow the program to follow guided weightlifting routines from afar. This will track performance to reach training goals. It generates a perfect workout schedule that specifically trains for cheerleading skills. This answers the returners requests to intensify training.

Each year, the program guides their season with a central theme. The past years have been “heart of gold” and “superblooom.” This year, the theme is “be a star.” This captures the pressure to shine and stand out on the sideline (and this year on the competition mat too).

Additionally, the coaches are combating bullying and negativity on the team by strictly enforcing an infraction system. This system outlines the consequences for athletes who are out of uniform, misbehave during practices, and have poor attendance for practices or games. This will prevent the patterns of gossip or judgment from athlete to athlete, which were a serious risk in past seasons.

The cheerleaders are ready to be taken seriously. This year will be the strongest yet because efforts are in place to keep the athletes on track for success. With the assistance from the Volt app, new coaches, Legion Sports center, and our own self-motivation, the CCHS cheerleaders are bound to impress judges, crowds, and themselves.