Molly Parks is a Junior on Petersburg High School's cheerleading team. Photo/Rosa Lopez

Molly Parks is a Junior on Petersburg High School’s cheerleading team. Photo/Rosa Lopez

Regional basketball isn’t the only competition happening this week for Petersburg High School. The school’s cheerleaders are also competing in Ketchikan at regionals. As cheerleader and KFSK intern Rosa Lopez explains, they will be going up against other cheer squads from around Southeast.

Seventeen Viking Cheerleaders are at the school’s pep rally for regionals, working on the cheer section in their region routine. They are led by Coach Veronica Maldonado who goes by “Ronnie”.

“This year we’ve been working on mastering some more complicated stunts,” Maldonado says. “You’ll see in our routine that we’re doing a little more difficult stunts than last year and we’re working on motion technique and tightening motions up and some jumps.”

A lot is at stake. Our Viking Cheer Team is working hard to win at regionals after losing to Sitka last year. Junior Molly Parks remembers the defeat.

“Well we tried really really hard and, I mean, the other teams were really good too, but I don’t know, of course I thought we were going to win, because, I don’t know, they’re my team,” Parks says.

Daten Benett, one of three seniors on the squad, was also there.

Daten Bennett is a Senior on Petersburg High School's cheerleading squad. Photo/Rosa Lopez

Daten Bennett is a Senior on Petersburg High School’s cheerleading squad. Photo/Rosa Lopez

“I think that we were close. Sitka did have a good routine but I think this year we’re gonna come back beating them hopefully,” Bennett says.

Bennett believes that team has a chance because of the improvements they have made.

“This year we’ve gotten some really complicated techniques down and we’ve gotten some difficult stunts that we haven’t gotten before and I think we’re pretty strong this year,” Bennett says.

The squad will be judged on the cheers they perform during the games as well as a dance-cheer routine.

The routine was choreographed by Akram Hemaiden from World Class Cheerleading. He creates routines for cheerleaders all over the world. I reached him by phone in Norway.

“The trick is not just the routine I choreograph for you i think its everything,” Hemaiden says. “It’s about your cheers, your sidelines, your energy the whole because I’ve judge regionals before. You guys have a great shot but you need to excel in every area not just one.”

Maldonado has been coaching the team for four years. She knows what it feels like to win. She cheered in High School and College, winning first in their division along with taking multiple grand champ titles at state. She thinks this squad has what it takes.

“Last year was a very good year for us learning wise,” Maldonado says. “We went in there feeling pretty confident and that other teams did really well also so having a relatively new squad we did our best and our best wasn’t worth of first place so we took that and wrote down our notes and we’re hoping to take first place this year, but that being said so are Mt. Edgecumbe and Sitka.”

The cheerleading squad left Monday afternoon for Ketchikan. They will be there through the week and will hopefully return Sunday with their own regional title.