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(Mon) February 18, 2008

CHEERLEADING: Kamehameha-Kapalama Varsity Cheerleaders Win Fourth National Championship in Six Years


Destiny called to the varsity cheerleaders of Kamehameha-Kapalama  Schools as they arrived in Orlando, Florida for the 28th annual National High School Cheerleading Championships (NHSCC) conducted February 9-11, 2008.  Up against 63 other regional champions in the Small Varsity division, the Warriors of Kamehameha fought back from falls in the preliminary round to advance first out of semi-final judging.  Then, in front of a full capacity crowd at Disney’s Wide World of Sports arena, Kamehameha-Kapalama cheerleaders executed arguably their finest routine ever in a NHSCC Final judging round to capture first place and their fourth national championship since 2003.

“Our team motto this year,” said senior captain Keenyn Won, “is Haku i ka hopena — which means ‘create your own destiny.’  This National competition was probably the toughest battle we faced this year, but we kept believing in each other.  Together, we made it happen.”

The National High School Cheerleading Championship (NHSCC) brings hundreds of squads from 48 states, all regional champions in their own right, together for two days of intense competition.  A total of over 5,000 cheerleaders from school-based programs participate in the NHSCC every year.  In the world of cheerleading in which every event is seemingly now labeled a “national,” the NHSCC is widely acknowledged as the one true competition.  The NHSCC is the only championship recognized by the National Federation of State High School Associations which administers high school athletics  and fine arts programs in all 50 states including Hawaii.  Highlighted by ESPN and ESPN2 in over 60 hours of dedicated programming, the NHSCC is well established as the premier event of its kind.

Up against exceptional gymnasts and established cheerleading programs from powerhouse cheer states that included the likes of Texas, Kentucky, Indiana and Tennessee, it was the girls from the islands that captured the hearts of the judges and audience alike.  Kamehameha-Kapalama won first place in the Small Varsity division comprised of 63 championship squads from across the nation.  Competing for the first time ever, Kamehameha-Kaplama’s Middle School squad finished  as one of the top five junior high programs in the nation, taking home a fourth place trophy.  In addition to the Warrior squads, both Kailua and Kalaheo High School Varsity squads qualified to attend the NHSCC and represented Hawai’i well by advancing to the semi-final round of competition in the Small Varsity division.



“It is definitely the caliber of the teams here at NHSCC that truly sets this championship apart,” said Co-Head Coach Melissa Beimes.  “Most of the members of these squads are elite gymnasts and have been involved in cheerleading for nearly all their lives.  We often feel quite awed by the amazing athletic talent and the sheer number of competitors we face here at NHSCC.”

Co-Head Coach Dolly Wong added, “I think our win and the solid performances by our Middle School squad and the Kailua and Kalaheo squads makes a bold statement about Hawai`i cheerleading as a whole.  At all levels from pop warner, to middle school and high school, up to our collegiate level – Hawai`i cheerleading is proving that we belong with the best of the best.  Since gaining the respect of our athletic administrations who voted to recognize cheerleading as an official sport here in the islands a few years back, our local competitive cheerleading programs have demonstrated to the nation that Hawai’i cheerleading is the new powerhouse on the scene. We have earned that respect.”

Hawai’i athletic directors designated cheerleading as an official sport in 2001.  Since that time, a State Cheerleading championship has been coordinated by the Hawai’i High School Athletic Association every year to showcase the exceptional athletic talent and leadership qualities of Hawaii’s competitive cheer squads.

The Kamehameha-Kapalama national champion Varsity squad is coached by Melissa Beimes, Giselle Kim, Shawna Lee and Dolly Wong. Squad members include:  Chelsea Bega, Robbi Bulatao, Brianna Burnett, Cady Burnett, Erika Castro, Rachel Joaquin, Kacie Kamaka`ala, Kanani Kekuawela, Ashley Klein, Cristina Lei Luke, Ashley Murakami, Kelli Ann Uehara, Savannah Wolfe, Keenyn Won, and Shelby Wong.

Coaches for the Kamehameha-Kapalama Middle School Blue squad are Michelle Kamali`i, Alise Garcia, Reina Takano, and Kawena Vierra.  Squad members include:  Kaylee-Jane Arakaki, Keala Armstrong, Nikki Bulatao, Breanna Dano, Shayla Ganotisi, LeShae Henderson, Chael Kekona, Lindsey Kim, Kayla Kimura, Lindsey Leong, Momi Morgan, Alicia Ruelke, Mehana Salvani, Kelly Schade, Haylee Soma, Kalei Soon, and Shawna Uehara.




Kamehameha-Kapalama School708
Centennial High School
Madison Centeral High School
MacArthur High School
Burlington Township High School

For a complete listing of the results of the entire competition click on the following link:

For video of the routine click on the following link then search for, “Kamehameha Small Varsity Finals:

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