VEGA cheerleaders earn ticket to Tampa

VEGA All-Star Cheer

D2 Summit

April 30 and May 1 in Tampa, Florida

Bowling fundraiser

Thursday, April 14, 6 to 8 p.m.

At Big Al’s, 16615 S.E. 18th St., in Vancouver

For more information, call 834-4636, or visit www.vegagym.com/vega-cheer

Seventeen VEGA cheerleaders will compete against the best Small Senior Level 1 squads in the nation at the D2 Summit April 30 and May 1, in Tampa, Florida.

“Basically, it’s like the Olympics of cheerleading,” said head coach Jen Filson.

Members of the VEGA All-Star Cheer squad are Alexia Dana, Quinn Davidson, Sydney Dreyer, Maddie Frost, Brooke Gaudio, Chloe Higgins, Darian Holmes, Hayden Horowitz, Megan Kane, Abby Martin, Avery Mohn, Emma Neilson, Cassidy Radke, Alex Rediske, Mallorie Schmidt, Alana Smith and Grace Torres. These 11- to 15-year-olds are from Camas, Washougal and Vancouver. Filson, Sierra Arbizu and Tricia Hoppa are the coaches.

“It should be a good experience for these girls, no matter how they do,” Filson said. “They won just by earning a bid. We are the only gym in the greater Vancouver and Portland area to get a bid.”

VEGA gained its invitation at the Best of the Northwest cheerleading competition Feb. 14, in Tacoma. They were the only squad out of 130 teams to earn a national bid.

Cheerleading means a lot to these girls.

“We’re one big family that supports each other and loves each other,” Higgins said. “It’s our favorite thing in the world to come together and perform.”

“If we have any personal problems, we just go cheer and everything will turn out fine,” Martin added.

Filson said cheerleading at the Virtuosity Performing Arts Studio started with only six girls. Today, there are more than 80 cheerleaders in the program.

“It’s a team sport,” she said. “We have to work together. We quite literally have each other’s lives in our hands.”

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