Jerome High School Cheer makes finals at USA Spirit Nationals

Jerome High School Cheer makes finals at USA Spirit Nationals

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State Cheer Championships

Lane Southwick, of Jerome, cheers in the front of the team during the 4A Pom division Friday, March 16, 2018, during the 2018 State Cheer Championships at the Ford Idaho Center in Nampa.

JEROME — When the judges at the United Spirit Association Spirit Nationals told the Jerome High School cheerleading team their pyramid routine was against the rules, it left the squad with only one hour to learn a completely new one.

It’s that kind of tenacity that resulted in success last weekend during the competition in Anaheim, California.

The Jerome cheerleading squad competed in the floor show routine and placed in the top five in the nation out of 15 schools. This is the first time the squad competed at USA Nationals, and it was an arduous road to get there.

“This is the first time ever in the history of Jerome High School that we went to this competition and we made it to finals,” Kira Capps, cheer coach at Jerome High School, said.

Outside companies can’t come to Idaho for cheer competitions, so while other schools got to try to qualify at other events hosted by USA, the Jerome team had to submit one video the first week of December in the hopes of obtaining entry.

The girls wake at 6 a.m. three or four times a week, and this is the first group that Capps can remember that doesn’t need to be hassled into coming to practice on time.

Each of the 31 girls fundraised to be able to pay the entry fee, raising more than $15,000. It was the first year, Capps said, that she felt that her team was ready to attend this competition. Jerome High Athletic Director Jeremy Monroe said the girls’ dedication and understanding of Capps’ expectations is what motivated the team to get to Spirit Nationals.

“It’s impressive,” Monroe said of the achievement. “There was a lot of investment from the girls. The coach set them up for success. We’re very proud of them.”

Jerome High dazzled the crowd with its bright orange uniforms and pompoms, Capps said. It was one of only two schools from Idaho to compete. This made it feel like the team was not only representing its school but the entire state.

“We were blessed to be here and represent our school, our town but also our state,” Capps said. “We were excited to represent Idaho.”

Prior to Spirit Nationals, the team came one point away from clinching the title of division champions against 10 other schools. It will compete in state championships next month, and the squad’s recent success is a hopeful indicator of what may come.

“It’s going to be good to see what they can do,” Munroe said. “They’re just great girls. They’re dedicated, they work hard and they carry themselves with respect.”

PHOTOS: 2019 State Cheer Championships

Megan Taros is a Times-News reporter and Report for America corps member covering the Magic Valley’s Hispanic community and Jerome County. You can support her work by donating to Report for America at http://bit.ly/supportRFA.

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