KERMAN, Calif. (KGPE) — It’s been a big year for a team from the small farming town of Kerman.
The Kerman junior high school cheer team took home state, regional and national honors. We asked them how to stand out when you don’t come from a power program or big-city school.
“We’re such a small town, hardly any people know Kerman. So we are competing against big cities,” said Trinity Pereira, a member of the Kerman cheer squad.
“We had to work extra hard, so they know Kerman’s got it, they can bring it,” said Jasmine Rodriguez, who is also on the team.
Trinity and Jasmine are part of the team of seventh and eighth-grade girls. They got together this week for a team dinner to celebrate the successful season.
They had three first-place finishes: First at regionals in Fresno in November, first at nationals in Las Vegas in January, and first at state in Bakersfield in February.
“Like I tell the girls if you really want it, we have to get together and practice practice, practice,” said the team’s cheer advisor, Lupe Medina.
Medina says the girls earned the first place finishes through hard work. They cheer for the Kerman youth football program and then focus on the competition after the football season.
They haven’t always come in first.
“We just had to learn from those mistakes and push ourselves harder and push ourselves more,” Trinity said.
“The more we went over it and worked harder and pushed ourselves to do our best, that’s when we felt we can do it this year, we can actually win,” Jasmine added.
The girls won rings for their first-place finishes, something they’re very proud of. But the coaches want this to be about more than winning.
“Before we leave a practice we always chant ‘family.’ And I feel like the connections and the bonds that we make are more important than any first place that we get,” said coach and choreographer, Kayla Medina.
Many of the girls have grown up together on this team. And they learn how to be mentors.
“Our girls are always a role model, our senior girls are always a role model to our juniors, to our peewees, and our mighty mights. So our young girls look up to the senior squad,” Lupe Medina said.
And they’ve learned what it means to have Girl Power.
“We can actually do as much as boys can do and even more because we can do anything we want to. It doesn’t matter what anybody says as long as we believe in ourselves,” Jasmine said.
“Always think of bigger and better goals and try to push for those goals,” Trinity added.