Both squads improve fundamentals, receive national bids
The cheerleaders spent four day at Azusa Pacific University learning new skills to help them progress throughout the year. Coach Katie Mendenhall believes the camp helped the returning varsity members reach their leadership potential.
The cheers and screams of cheerleaders filled a Southern California baseball field while accepting their third consecutive overall Spirit award at the Fellowship of Christian Cheerleaders (FCC) cheer camp, July 11-14.
"Camp really helped with the bonding between JV and varsity," Samantha Krikorian, '08, said, "especially with the new girls. We weren't just JV (junior varsity) and varsity, we had camaraderie."
The Spirit award is presented to one squad or school that stands out during the four-day camp at Azusa Pacific University, July 11-14.
"Winning the Spirit award for the third year in a row was awesome," coach Katie Mendenhall said. "It was really cool because we have been going to camp for three years and every year not only have we won first in our division, but also first overall."
With the loss of ten graduates, the cheerleaders began with practically a clean slate.
"I really wanted the four returning varsity, Sam (Krikorian), Brittany (Stobbe, '09), Taryn (Brown, '08) and Whittney (Stipe, '08), to know that they could do it without the graduated seniors," Mendenhall said. "When I heard our name called I put my head down and thanked God. I wanted it so bad for the girls."
Although both squads received bids to the national competition in Orlando, Florida, for the third time this year, the girls will be attending a different national event.
"Because we are doing West Coast Nationals instead of FCC Nationals, we have a better chance of placing higher," Mendenhall said. "Since it is West Coast, there will be less East Coast squads there and entering a different division will also help increase our score."
The squads started preparing a new routine a week after try-outs in April. At camp, the extra work paid off for varsity squad members, Krikorian, Brown, Stobbe, Lindsay Bolduc, '09 and Natalie McCallum, '09, received All-Star cheerleader. Two cheerleaders on JV, Kory Thompson, '11, and Lizzy Bolduc, '11, also accepted All-Star.
"I think that we are going to be as good as last year if not better," Brown said. "I am really proud of our team so far."
Other top awards received this year included All Superior Ratings for Routines Performed and Spirit Sticks all four days.
"Because it was our (the senior's) last camp, it's a nice feeling that the staff noticed our hard work," Stipe said. "It was really exciting that we achieved that goal for the third year in a row."
At the end of each camp day, everyone attended chapel, where several staff members rotated speaking to the campers.
"Camp helped me grow spiritually," Krikorian said. "The loss of Donavon (Tessner, '08, of Liberty High) actually turned out to be a blessing that it happened near camp. A mix of the messages that were given and my squad's support really helped me through it."
The cheerleaders will be participating in the upcoming annual Football Kick-off dinner on Aug. 24 from 6-8 P.M. Tickets can be purchased from a cheerleader or football player for $15.
For more information please visit the following:
Katie Mendenhall's e-mail
Fresno Christian Cheer page