In spite of injury to coach, cheer team takes home first

Rachel Shin, Staff Reporter

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The De Anza College cheer team faced their first obstacle at the start of winter quarter when their coach sustained a foot injury that required surgery. After receiving the news over a Facebook message, the cheer team learned that the surgery would require their coach to take an unspecified amount of leave.
Despite this predicament, the cheer team claimed first place at the Athletic Championships’ American Masterpiece in San Jose Jan. 28-29.
“Their victory really is a testament to the team members,” cheer coach CJ Smith said. “This is especially so because I, the coach, have been off campus since the second day of winter quarter.”
Initially, the team was discouraged, and considered withdrawing from the competition. However, even without a designated advisor for the time being, the De Anza cheer team set out to organize practices themselves.
“When I first heard about my coach’s injury, I was extremely worried and anxious,” said cheer captain Christine Krepelka, 23, pre-nursing major. “I knew that as a team, we would have to scramble to find appropriate places to practice and work extra hard to learn the formations via text messages and online communications.”
To accommodate the adjusted practice times, the De Anza cheer team cancelled social events, worked around personal schedules, and held practices early on Saturday mornings, preparing for the first competition of the season. Since the coach usually provided the team with routine formations, stunts, and performance details, the cheer team cooperated to designate and arrange the details on their own.
“Our victory at this recent competition definitely reflected all the time and effort we poured into this choreography,” Krepelka said. “We definitely earned our championship title through all our hours of practicing and perseverance, and as a captain I am so very proud of my team and how we blossomed in the face of adversity. I hope this victory will serve to remind us all that anything is possible if you truly work for it.”

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