The Palo Alto High School (Paly) competition cheer team placed third out of seven teams at JAMZ Nationals this year in Las Vegas, an improvement from last year’s sixth out of seven team placement.

“We practiced every Monday since September and as the competition neared, we added Friday practices and some morning and weekend practices so a lot of time and effort were put into our routine,” senior Shiri Arnon said.

“We hit all our stunts, which was very satisfying and was a great accomplishment. . . overall it was extremely fun and an experience worth the time and energy,” Arnon said.

The Paly cheer team felt satisfied with its performance this year.

Coach Mandie Bowen feels as though last year’s placement motivated the team to improve this year.

“We were disappointed with how we placed last year, and that really motivated the team heading into our competition season this year,” Bowen said.

“Everyone tried to put 110% into every full out [routine] to prepare for the stress of those two and a half minutes,” freshman Eve Merritt said. “The team really killed it at Nationals. . . we all went out on the floor and gave it everything we had.”

Arnon, also satisfied with the team’s placement, said, “We were only two-tenths points away from taking second place and the first place champions have usually been in a higher division in years past, so it wasn’t too bad to come in behind them.”

Junior Maya McAuliffe feels proud of the outcome of the competition. “I’m incredibly proud of how hard my team worked for this competition,” McAuliffe said.

“For most of us, this was only our first or second time at Nationals and to get third when our coaches have only been here for two years is definitely something to be excited about.”

“I couldn’t be more proud of this year’s outcome,” junior Ella Higashi said.

“The fact that we placed and went home with the bronze is probably one of the best feelings ever . . . but next year we are getting first.”

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