‘A Little Family’: Ukiah High’s Junior Varsity Cheer Team Makes a Comeback


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For the first time in many years, Ukiah High School has a Junior Varsity Cheer Team. UHS News spoke with a few members of the squad and the coaching staff about bringing the team back to life. 

Junior Varsity Coach Lamanda Walker told us the JV team introduces “new cheerleaders to the sport and develop[s]  the athlete’s skills including leadership skills. Also, having a second team allows us to take more athletes into this sport and less athletes getting discouraged.”

Coach Walker was a member of her high school cheerleading team during her senior year. She said, “I fell in love with the sport and wish I had done it sooner.”

She started coaching nearly 12 years ago and is very passionate about the importance of athletics for young people. She told us, “I came back this year because I love the sport and want to make a positive impact in our youth’s lives. I feel like if I can make a positive impact on even one child then I did my job right.”

The JV and Varsity team at the Homecoming Rally [Picture by Katie Williams]

Freshman athlete Kylie Scarbrough-Holly has played soccer and wrestled in the past and is now on the JV Cheer squad.” She told us “It’s great having two teams, it gives the JV team a goal and the varsity girls help us a lot with more complicated stunts.¨

April Espinoza, a 10th-grader, said her favorite aspect of cheer is ¨getting to know and be close with more people.¨ As a member of the JV team, Espinoza said, “We can help each other out and give more beginning cheerleaders, or anyone in general who’s interested, a chance to learn and improve.”

Espinoza began her career as a cheerleader when, “My mother pushed me to join cheer since it was her dream, but she was very shy in high school and I’m in the same boat. I wanted to join cheer just to get out of my comfort zone, and I have no regrets.”

Freshman Briana Goodson, a 10-year cheerleading veteran, wants to continue on as a cheerleader in college after her time at Ukiah High. She loves the JV team because she “enjoys building a bond with all the girls and making it feel like a little family.”

April Espinoza summed up the value of being a Wildcat Cheerleader when she said, “Being proud of ourselves and improving each practice as a team is what makes me love cheer.”

Catalina Cowen
Catalina Cowen
Catalina Cowen is a freshman in the Ukiah High school journalism class. She loves baking and hanging out with friends. She joined journalism because she likes writing about things that happen in the town around her. Catalina was born in Ukiah, California which is a big reason why she wanted to write about the city she is from. She looks forward to writing for the Ukiah High School Journalism class in her future years in High school.

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