Spirit Squad holds tryouts for upcoming season

Juliana Moraes-Liu, Author

[slideshow] The Palo Alto High School Spirit Squad is gearing up for next year’s season by holding tryouts at 4 p.m. daily this week in the dance studio.

Students are invited to try out for cheerleading and dance teams, which together comprise the Spirit Squad.

Both teams are eager for the 2013-2014 season.

“[We] can’t wait to start preparing for our own competition season again,” said Haley Hammer, one of the two head coaches of the Spirit Squad. She and Mandie Bowen lead the teams.

The cheerleading team is looking for team members who have the ability to “cheer loud, tumble, be flexible, use sharp motions and execute strong dance technique and proper stunting skills,” according to Hammer.

Sophomore Veronica Santo, a current member of the cheerleading team, is looking for a good turnout at tryouts.

“I am hoping that more girls try out this year so we can have a big team,” Santo said.

The dance team especially wishes to expand its roster.

“I hope we can have more dancers than we have previously,” sophomore dancer Jamie Garcia said.

Anyone with the ability to perform the necessary skills and elements for the routines will be welcomed onto either team, according to Hammer.

“We would love to have a large squad,” Hammer said.

The Spirit Squad hopes these tryouts will set their upcoming season to be as successful as this year’s. Garcia said believes that Paly Dance has had a strong year.

“I would describe last season as a success,” Garcia said. “Even though we lost so many great dancers last year and started this year with new coaches, we pulled out an amazing season.”

This year was the first for Hammer and Bowen at Paly, and team members are happy with the new addition.

“We were all adjusting to new coaches [last year] and weren’t sure how things would play out, but things ended up being great,” Santo said.

Hammer agrees with Santo on the success of this year’s cheerleading team.

“Our 2012-2013 [cheerleading] season was awesome,” Hammer said. “We had a lot of seniors on the cheer team who showed great leadership and encouragement to their younger teammates.”

Hammer is also proud of the effort put in by the dance team over the past year.

“They [the dance team] worked really hard all year to pull together and perform halftime routines for football season and basketball season,” Hammer said.

Tryout results will be posted online Friday night. Students may try out for both the dance and cheerleading team, but students can only participate in one team.