Turlock Elite Cheer, a competition-level cheer squad with members ages 13 to 16, won first place out of hundreds of teams from across the Western United States at the JAMZ Nationals Championship cheer competition in Las Vegas last weekend.
Turlock Youth Cheer Coach Lorrie Smith started Turlock Elite Cheer in 2011 when JAMZ cheer and dance started a non-affiliated competition category for these older competitors.
Turlock Youth Cheer also had an impressive finish at the national championship with the junior varsity (up to 11 years old) squad winning second place and the varsity (up to 13 years old) team claiming third in their respective age groups. TYC is made up of cheerleaders from the Turlock Vikings and Turlock 49ers.
Evans explained that Elite Cheer is different from traditional “sideline” cheer squads. Sideline cheer is cheering for a specific team or school, while competition cheer has far more elaborate routines and is much more physically intense for the sake of competition against other cheer squads.
In today’s world of competitive cheer, the stakes are high for bragging rights and pride. Elite Coach Geoff Evans says his girls practice nine months out of the year, and this past summer they conditioned alongside Turlock High School football players. Evans proudly proclaims that his cheerleaders worked harder than the football team at THS.
Elite trains by the motto: “Greatness isn't defined by meeting the expectation; it is achieved when you have exceeded all expectations at an elite level.”
Turlock Elite cheerleaders are not just from Turlock. There are members from Ceres, Denair, Manteca and Modesto.
“This is a hard working, motivated, and dedicated group that was assembled in May 2013, to begin this season,” Evans said. “The experience of the cheerleaders on this team varies from girls that have been competing for 7 years and all the way down to some who are participating for the first time this year. They have worked hard all year and competed in five regional competitions this year. This team has earned a first place title at all five of the competitions.”
The Turlock Elite Cheer roster is as follows: