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PHS Cheer delivers Pride, Honor, Strength at Cheer Camp
Porterville High School cheer teams — varsity squad, junior varsity and freshman — have returned from Universal Cheerleaders Association’s Cheer Camp held Friday through Sunday at Sacramento State University, with an array of awards, including the Leadership Award Plaque, an award voted on by the other squads at camp.
The award also earned the squad an opportunity to attend the 2013 Capital One Bowl Pre-game Performance in Orlando, FL held Dec. 29-Jan. 2., said PHS cheer adviser and instructor Lisa Ruffa.
For the cheer team members, the experience was one they’ll never forget.
“It was phenomenal. It was such an honor to be the team that everyone wanted to be on,” said Bailey Volaski.
Kim Hulse called the camp the best one she’s been to during her four years, and one that brought the teams closer.
“For awards it was so exciting, every time we won something, we would stand up and hug everyone, and for leadership it was like an honor that the other teams want to be like us,” Hulse said.
Overall, the camp experience was wonderful, said Michelle Volaski, co-adviser and parent.
“It was jam packed with new routines, technique, safety rules, and most importantly this group of kids had the opportunity to learn, bond, and become a family,” Volaski said. “This experience is something that will last a lifetime and they will never forget how hard they worked, and the happiness that overcame them when they received their awards.”
As individuals, Volaski said they all learned the importance of setting goals, having a plan to accomplish them, and the joy of achieving them.
During the nightly award ceremonies, and the final camp champ ceremonies, PHS cheer teams were hopeful that their hard work would be rewarded, and if it wasn’t, thought of what they could do differently as a team and as individuals to receive the same acknowledgement, Volaski said.
“They would discuss success and what we needed to do the next day and the next to receive recognition,” Volaski said. “They truly were leaders amongst their peers.”
When they received the leadership award they all jumped up, hugged each other and were yelling, laughing, crying, Volaski said, and added that there was so much emotion, she was certain the other teams could feel the energy.
For Emily Ruffa, the camp was a great experience for her personally, and for the team.
“It was an honor to take home first place in all categories, especially the leadership award voted on by the other teams that were there,” Emily Ruffa said. “This camp installed a new passion in the sport for not only me but the whole team. And the chance to go to London and apply for UCA staff with some of my team mates is an honor. I am very excited about the opportunities and experiences we could have.”
Taylor Quintana also agreed, saying the experience has helped them progress individually and as a team.
“Camp helped our stunt groups become stronger and advance. When the camp leadership award was won I was more shocked then surprised. It felt awesome to know our peers voted for us,” she said.
Edgar Rangel, the only male in the cheer group, called the experience good and said he enjoyed every minute of it.
“This camp united the team more than what we already were and I’m proud of my girls for coming in first place in all categories,” he said.
In addition, six of PHS’s seven seniors performed a cheer and dance routine as they tried out for the title of All American Cheerleader on the second day of camp. Four were named “All American Cheerleaders” — Bailey Volaski, Emily Ruffa, Kim Hulse and Brittney Hensley. The four girls were also invited to apply for a position as a UCA staff member.
“They were the only girls from this particular camp chosen. It is quite an honor to receive that type of recognition,” Lisa Ruffa said. “These girls now have an opportunity to participant in the 2013 London Varsity Cheer Tour Dec 26th - Jan 2nd. They have the opportunity to see such places as Buckingham Palace, The Tower of London, St. Paul’s Cathedral, Westminster Abbey, Big Ben, the Houses of Parliament. They will perform in the London New Year’s Day Parade. It really is an opportunity of a life time to do this with not only your squad members but your best friends.”
Lisa Ruffa praised PHS’s coaching staff, Varsity coach Brittni Winn, and JV/Freshman coach Krisdan Rackley.
“This camp experience was a great opportunity for our team to bond and learn to work together. We have a lot of new cheerleaders so we really went into this thinking of it as a growth year,” Lisa Ruffa said. “As the days progressed and we saw the team working together as well as all of the comments we were getting from other coaches, advisors, cheerleaders and staff, we started to realize that others were seeing the focus and drive of our team.”
On the Varsity Squad: Kim Hulse - Captain, Emily Ruffa - Captain, Bailey Volaski - Captain, Brittney Hensley, Taylor Quintana, Justina Silva, Itzel Baltazar, Katrina Ali, Mariah Ramos, Karina Ceballos, McKenzi Bean, Tiffany Ortega, Celeste Lopez, Rebecca Acosta and Edgar Rangel.
Junior Varsity/Freshman teams consist of Valerie Cortez - Captain, Jennifer Martinez - Captain, Iris Fernandez, Aslynn Hagen, Yanet Baeza, Samantha Cox, Joua Chang, Excel Espina, Alexis Melton, Serena Zuniga, Jerica Schlaepfer, Alexis Ortega, Erika Zuniga, Adriana Ramirez and Zoe Bias.
Varsity Team Awards
° Camp Champion Trophy Home Dance — a dance worked on at home and performed at camp.
° Champ Champion Trophy Extreme Routine.
° Camp Champion Trophy Cheer.
° Superior Trophy Home Fight Song.
° Leadership Award Plaque.
° Top Banana Award, picked by the UCA staff daily based on Team spirit and unity)
° Eight Blue Ribbons (superior/game ready) for team evaluations throughout the camp for cheer/stunting/dance/sideline cheer.
° Four Gold Ribbons (explained as given only when the squads perform at a level that exceeds the superior ribbon standard) for final evaluations on Extreme Routine/Camp Cheer/Stunt/Sideline Cheer.
Junior Varsity/Freshman Awards
° Second place fight song
° Second place cheer and dance
° Improvement trophy
° Numerous Red Ribbons (almost game ready)
° Numerous Blue Ribbons (superior/game ready)
° All American Cheerleaders — Bailey Volaski, Emily Ruffa, Kim Hulse and Brittney Hensley.
° Kim Hulse - Jump off
° Kim Hulse - Best knowledge of warm up dance.