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Hart Cheer Wins CIF State Championship

Posted: January 23, 2008 10:55 p.m.
Updated: March 25, 2008 2:01 a.m.

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The Hart varsity cheer team continued its dominance over the California cheer scene by winning their second consecutive CIF State Championship in December.

Held at the Home Depot Center in Carson, the competition featured 28 of the finest cheer squads from across California. As one of five other groups at the event competing in the large varsity division, Hart captured top honors including first place overall and a choreography award.

The win came after nearly five months of intense practice and preparation. Such work took its toll over the course of time.

"We started learning routines before school started and practice every day for three hours," said senior team captain Leah Powers. "I'm never home."

The road to perfection was indeed arduous.

"Some girls fractured wrists and (we) had to replace some girls," Powers said.

But with such dedication and prior success at state championships, the team's confidence was greatly boosted before its performance.

"Our confidence was high but we didn't let it get over our heads," Powers said.

Hart's routine, which included a mixture of various songs, was short - only about a total of two and half minutes - but each move they made was closely scrutinized by judges.

"(The routine) includes cheer, dance movements, and tumbling. Judges look for the more complicated moves, the more synchronized, and how difficult the movements are," said Emily Chiominto, whose daughter is a member of the team.

The moves performed can tend to be quite intricate; in fact many aspects of the routine are referred to as "stunts."

"My daughter is thrown into the air by all the other girls," Chiominto said with a laugh.

Along with learning their competition routine, Hart's team also must memorize numerous cheers that they used during football games and rallies.

In fact, it is not until after homecoming in late October that the team actually begins to incorporate many of its more dangerous stunts into school performances.

Gradually, as the season progresses, the moves the team performs become more difficult.

"We only do little pieces of (the competition routine) at rallies," Powers said.

According to Chiominto, the team hired a choreographer who, along with their coach, helped them hone their skills.

The state championships were not the final competition of the year for Hart's cheerleaders, however. Along with two this month, the team still has multiple events to attend.

Since Hart has been deemed state champions, they have been invited to numerous other competitions where the event coordinators have agreed to pay the team's entrance fees.

Such events could be at Universal Studios in Hollywood or at the national cheer championships in Anaheim later this year.

Scott Kanowsky is a senior at Hart High School.


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