The Tsunami All Starz Cheer Gym recently wrapped up another successful season of cheerleading, as the gym’s 26 cheerleaders competed in their final competition of the season in Anaheim at The American Showcase. In all, the All Starz fielded three teams this year and all three enjoyed significant success throughout the season.
“Overall I am pretty proud of what these kids have accomplished,” said coach Nicole Soule, who was in charge of the tiny and junior level teams, while also assisting with the youth squad. “On the junior squad I had kids that fought all season, not just for the stunts but their tumbling as well. It was a pretty good year.”
The All Starz tiny team, consisting of cheerleaders ages three to six years old, got off to a hot start to the season. The tiny team took second place at the Southern Oregon Cheer Classing in Medford on Jan. 7 to open the season before ripping off three straight first-place finishes.
After Medford, the tiny All Starz took first place at The American Masterpiece in San Jose on Jan. 21; a the best of the Northwest competition in Tacoma, Wash. February 10-11; and at PACWest Nationals in Portland March 10-11. The tiny team earned a bid to the U.S. Finals in Las Vegas due to its first-place finish in Portland, but Soule said they have elected not to attend the competition due to the high cost of travel.
“For them to win all three national competitions in a row, I am really proud of them,” Soule said. “They are all brand new. In Anaheim on the second day they made me laugh so hard, because they made up their own stunts in the air. They did really well this year.”
The All Starz’ youth team, consisting of cheerleaders age 11 and under, came up big in Portland and also grabbed a bid to Las Vegas thanks to a third-place finish in their division.
“The youth team fought really hard at PACWest in Portland,” Soule said. “They really wanted it and they were hungry. I would say that was probably their best competition of the season.”
Both the All Starz’ tiny and youth teams are level one squads, meaning that they are competing at a beginner level. The junior team competed in level two this year, meaning that they incorporated more difficult tumbling and stunts within their routines.
Soule said the junior team got off to a slow start to the season, placing outside of the top three in each of their first three competitions this year. The All Starz junior team saved its best for last, however, winning The American Showcase in Anaheim.
“The junior team had to change things before we left for Anaheim. We worked our butts off to make sure that those kids were at least going to have a fair shot at it. With those changes it actually helped them in their scoring, and we ended up three points away from getting a bid to the Summit in Florida,” Soule said. “We fixed some things and added a couple other things to the routine — we pulled out some stuff that didn’t need to be there and replaced it with some other stuff. We also made our stunts a little bit stronger. All that change just boosted their scoring.”
After her junior All Starz took first place for the first time all season, Soule said she wished the season wasn’t over just yet.
“This year I was sad to see it end for the junior team,” she said. “With how we ended I was just like, ‘Gosh, if we would have just started like that we would have been up there.’”
Although the Tsunami All Starz Cheerleading season ended less than two weeks ago, Soule said they are already looking ahead to next year.
“I am hearing that next season we will have two more coaches coming on board. We are hoping to have as many as five teams,” she said. “We are thinking that we will have a tiny novice, which is 3 to 5 years old and they don’t do stunts; we are hoping to have a youth level two team, which will do the back handsprings and all that stuff and is 11 and under; we will also have a senior level one or senior level two team; and we will be doing a senior level three team, which will be doing the back tucks and stuff with no arms — those are both for kids 12-18 years old.”
Signups for next season are already open, according to Soule. Anyone interested in cheerleading or tumbling is welcome to join. To sign up for next season visit the Tsunami All Starz Facebook page, or drop into the Tsunami Cheer & Tumble Gym on Wednesdays from 5:30 p.m. to 6 p.m.. The gym is located at 2361 Lake Earl Drive. Soule said the gym offers several different ways for families to defer the costs to participate.
“The gym has grown quite a bit recently,” Soule said. “I just want people to know that anybody is welcome to come to that gym. It is for everybody.”