Cheer squads set for Homecoming

Ilian Cervantes

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Last academic year the Sacramento State cheerleading team ended with 30 total student-athletes. This season they added 20 new faces to the squad bringing the total to 50; each will be performing during halftime at the Homecoming football game against Cal Poly San Luis Obispo on Saturday.

A month of planning and preparation has been put into the Homecoming routine. In just under two minutes, 50 cheerleaders will perform a sequence of flipping stunts, pyramid stunts, running and standing tumbling, followed by the dance team.

Senior psychology major Alexandria Camacho said she is excited to perform because it is the first time both teams are coordinating a routine together this year and it will be the first time performing for some of the new athletes.

“It is going to be a really big one,” Camacho said. “It is going to feature our coed and all-girls team, there’s about 50 of us, so getting us all together for one routine is going to be pretty big.”

The routine will open with flipping and twisting baskets and move into a tumbling sequence including standing back tucks and running tumbling featuring back handsprings and layouts.

Twelve stunt groups composed of both all-girl and coed teams will perform a series of pyramids, including an A- frame pyramid where a cheerleader is tossed onto the legs of two cheerleaders, who are themselves in a stunt group, forming a three-man high stunt.

An inside hitch pyramid, which combines multiple stunt groups that connect at the top to a middle stunt group, will also be showcased. The cheerleader in the middle stunt will hold two other cheerleaders’ legs forming a hitch shape, and the other stunt groups will connect outward from the middle.

“The girls and guys both do rewinds, so they actually throw the top girls so they flip and land into the group stunt or coed stunt,” said head cheer coach Tony Oka, about the most challenging stunt in the performance.

Aside from using the two and a half hour practices, three days a week to prepare for the homecoming football halftime performance, the team has been coordinating routines for the games as well as training for nationals.

Tryouts for the Nationals team were held Sunday. The teams will travel to Orlando, Fla. early next year to compete in the UCA & UDA College Cheerleading and Dance Team National Championships.

After the Homecoming game the athletes will find out if they made the cut, as only 20 will compete in the most prestigious college cheerleading championship in the country.

Camacho, the second year base who performed at nationals last year said it was an amazing experience and hopes to make the team this year.

“It was one of the best experiences, just being with all the really great college teams, it was just amazing,” Camacho said.

A larger team compared to last year allows for wider coverage at sporting events on campus.

“They have a pretty strenuous schedule because they are the only program that goes all year-round so it gives them the opportunity to split up and cover many sporting events,” Oka said.

Saturday’s performance will be a special treat for both programs since they perform on the sidelines not during halftime.

“We don’t usually get to perform at halftime, so any time we get a chance to showcase what we do, other than what we do at games, it’s really exciting,” Camacho said.

Kickoff will start at 6:05 p.m., where the Hornets will take on the Mustangs.