Vancouver area cheerleading team will head to nationals this summer in Las Vegas

VANCOUVER — This year for the first time ever the ActivStars Pros Vancouver Division 4 team, made up of 12 girls ranging in age from 9-15, will head to the 2017 Cheer Nationals in Las Vegas this coming July.

“Last competition we had in the fall, we were able to place in second place,” said Coach Miryssa Casas. “I told the team if we work hard enough, that we will get first place the next time we compete. This year was our first year to have nationals offered to us. Pros won first place, which qualified them for nationals in Vegas.”

During the competition in which they placed first and earned their spot to nationals, Casas said the girls did a routine to “Me Too” by Meghan Trainor.

Casas, who is a fairly new coach for ActivStars currently on her fourth semester of coaching, coaches and teaches four different divisions — Junior Varsity, Varsity, AllStars and Pros. The AllStars and Pros (Divisions 3 and 4) are the only ones that allow tumbling in their routines.

“I incorporate hip-hop, jazz and cheer dance with choreography,” Casas said. “Stunts and tumbling passes are also put into a routine, if the division is allowed to. With the Pro team, you must try out and have certain skills such as technique in the movements, proper fists and/or blades, a double jump, etc. We work on team building, new friends, memory and of course love to have fun.”

For some of the girls on the team, it is only their second semester, but others on the team have been cheering for many years. The ActivStars typically compete in two to three competitions per year. The team practices one dance routine and one cheer routine for their competitions.

This is Casas’ first year coaching a team. She said she started doing dance in middle school, continued on to the cheer team when she attended high school and then again at Clark College for a total of five years on a cheer team. She does a total of four classes with the four divisions (though Junior Varsity and Varsity are usually combined) that are held at Hazel Dell Elementary School on Mondays.

Classes are held from 6-6:45 p.m. for Junior Varsity and Varsity; 6:50-7:35 p.m. for All Stars; and 7:40-8:40 p.m. for Pros.

Casas said the team will be fundraising for their trip to nationals and they also have a GoFundMe account set up so people can donate to the team for travel expenses, room and food.

“This will be our first year, so it’s new to all of us,” Casas said.

The 12 girls on the team include Caitlyn Buffington, Ayla Darnell, Destiny Hassa, Jazmine Kriner, Kiya May, Mollie Miller, Kiera Navarro, Luvryah Oquendo, Emilee Souder, Tiffany Stolz, Riley Stricker and Abby Venglass.

The 2017 Cheer Nationals will be held July 29 and 30 at Orleans Arena in Las Vegas. For more information about the ActivStars, visit https://www.facebook.com/activstarsnw/?hc_ref=SEARCH&fref=nf.

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About The Author

Joanna Nicole Yorke is a 2010 graduate of the Edward R. Murrow School of Communication at Washington State University in Pullman. She has a bachelor's degree in journalism with a minor in political science. Yorke is a Clark County native, growing up on her family's 12-acre farm in La Center where her family still resides today. She was previously a reporter at The Reflector Newspaper, covering the city of Battle Ground, the Battle Ground School District and a variety of other areas and topics.

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