The Carpinteria High School Cheer Team will be going for the gold this weekend at the USA (United Spirit Association) National Competition in Anaheim. Achieving second place in the regional competition at Agoura High School in January put the team in a strong lead position in their division.

The Carpinteria High School Cheer Team practices from May to March, culminating with this weekend's national competition.

The Carpinteria High School Cheer Team practices from May to March, culminating with this weekend’s national competition. (Carpinteria High School photo)

On Friday, the team, made up of 34 CHS students with various strengths in tumbling, stunting, jumps and pyramids, will compete in the weekend-long competition, vying for a place in the Sunday finals with hopes of taking home the coveted first-place trophy. Although the team is diverse, they all share the same passion — to be the best and to represent Carpinteria at the national competition.

Under the direction and supervision of Julie Rubio-Shamblin, a Carpinteria Warrior and UCSB cheerleader alumna, the team has been inspired to be the best they can be not only at cheerleading but in every aspect of their lives. Rubio-Shamblin connects with her team not just as a coach, but as a mentor — guiding these young women to balance the challenges of school, family and their personal life, while remaining focused and committed on the field, whether in the classroom, on the job, or on stage. These are important skills and life lessons that can’t be taught in the classroom.

Cheerleading is not just for football anymore — it is a year-round competitive sport. Cheer clinics start in April with tryouts in May. Once the team is selected, practice takes place almost immediately throughout the summer with the USA Cheer Camp at UCSB in August. At Carpinteria High School, the Warrior Cheer Team is often seen cheering at basketball, soccer and volleyball games for both boys and girls. In addition to supporting the school, the Cheer Team is constantly working on perfecting their competitive routines. Practice continues all the way up to the national competition in March.

Competing at the USA National Competition has been a legacy of the Warrior cheerleaders going back decades to when Rubio-Shamblin was attending CHS. The experience is extraordinary in so many ways, from the competitive experience to the team-building. Throughout the years, many alumni cheerleaders have come back to assist with coaching and help teams continue the legacy because of the impact it had on them at that time in their lives.

In order to cover the cost of their expenses that help get them to the national cheer competition, the team participates in a variety of enterprising fundraising activities. Every October, the Carpinteria cheerleaders labor to create the center attraction at the Avocado Festival — ”The World’s Largest Bowl of Guacamole,” selling chips and guacamole to raise money for their competitive expenses. This is the biggest fundraiser of the year for the team and a huge success because of the support of local businesses: Albertsons, Gils Onions, La Toleca, MarBorg Industries, Santa Barbara Exotics, Calavo Avocados, Mission Linen, Santa Barbara Ice and Jordano’s.

In addition, the team has held several other community events to help with their fundraising efforts. The team has held a couple of mini-cheerleader clinics where young girls in the community are taught a cheer routine that they later perform with the Warrior team at a game during halftime. Most recently the team held a Parents Night Out, offering fun activities, food and pizza donated by Domino’s Carpinteria. This was a great success with nearly 20 kids participating.

Community members, local businesses and alumni are encouraged to help support the team. All donations are greatly appreciated, and donors will kept informed of the team’s success. Donations can be made online through the donation link at the Student Store page. Click here. For more information, call Rubio-Shamblin at 805.689.6146 or the school athletic office at 805.684.4107.

Warrior cheerleaders are under the direction of Rubio-Shamblin as well as the following Warrior cheerleader alumni: Melynda Gonzales Velasquez, Vanessa Tito, Sara Gonzales and Caitlyn Whittaker.

— Julie Rubio-Shamblin is coach of the Carpinteria High School Cheer Team.