Courtesy EPCC Cheer
Jump on it, EPCC competes in Daytona at the NCA Championship.
The El Paso Community College cheerleaders’ participated in the NCA College Nationals in Daytona Beach, Fl last week.
The program created history by advancing to finals for the first time ever and placing seventh in the competition.
In order to get an invitation to the competition, EPCC Cheer had to participate in a qualifying competition past July in Las Vegas at College Camp.
At the camp the squad received a Bronze Paid bid to participate in the NCA College Nationals.
The program has showed tremendous growth within the following years, this year in particular being a milestone.
“Our program has truly grown since starting the program in 2008 and only continues to grow better each year.
This team has truly put in so much work all year to get to this point from keeping up with grades and having to maintain a 2.5 GPA as well as putting in countless hours of community services and appearances,” said, EPCC Cheerleading Advisor/Coach, Raul Hernandez.
Christian Thomas, the EPCC cheer captain, knew his last year was going to be a special one from the beginning no matter the obstacles that came throughout the season from changing of the routines to people leaving the team.
“I knew this year would be different because of some of my new teammates. I was honestly scared at first but once I saw their work ethic and how bad each and every one of them wanted to make finals, I knew we had a really good shot this year,” said Thomas.
Perseverance was displayed by the captain and the rest of the team followed.
“I didn't want to go out not making finals any of my years as an EPCC Cheerleader and now I can say I am a finalist.
This year was really hard the team had to overcome many obstacles to get where we are, from people leaving the team, to having to change the routine more than once but in the end the team was persistent in the work they put in and it all showed,” explained Thomas.
Being a cheerleader at EPCC has meant a lot to me and has been a great experience and I will remember these moments for the rest of my life.”
The team wouldn’t have gotten so far without Coach Jimmy Salais who shared more info on the obstacles they faced throughout the season and displayed how proud he is of his team.
“This year has been both stressful and rewarding. We have gone through many challenges this year, reworking our routine and having it changed over and over again due to injuries, but in the end this routine has truly been one of the best we have ever had.”
Courtesy EPCC Cheer
Tejano Jack was a part of the cheerleading squad at the NCA Campionship.
As a coach it is amazing to see these athletes start off from a non-cheerleading background to making it to the top and performing on a national stage for the world to see.
They have really shown us what it is to be hard working and committed to this sport,” said Salais.
The journey and the process of striving to make the program better were also contributed by some of the rookie cheerleaders.
Experiencing some of the determination of what it takes and to grow from the experience so they can be better.
“My first experience as a cheerleader going to compete at Daytona was stressful and challenging, but as we fought through it, it became a fun and successful journey.
Coming in as a rookie made it ten times more challenging,” said EPCC cheerleader Arely Najera, “but facing all the challenges and hardship throughout the season has only made me a better cheerleader and person.
NCA nationals were an experience I could never forget.
Through the blood, sweat, and tears we faced on our trip here it is easy to say that this experience is one that will leave a mark on me for the rest of my life. Now that I have this experience it is easy to say that I want to become an even better cheerleader than I ever was.”