Making It To The Championship

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Competing at the Wescon Regional Pop Warner Cheer Championships was an exciting and intimidating experience for me and my cheer team.

Wescon brings together the best youth cheer teams from Southern California, Southern Nevada, Hawaii and Arizona.  Teams have to place 1st or 2nd in their division at a local Pop Warner cheer competition first, in order to be invited to Wescon, so just being able to compete at Wescon is an accomplishment!

Most of us on the team were new to each other this season.  Although most of us had other cheer, dance, or gymnastics experience, we were new as a team.  Some of my cheer teammates had been injured earlier in the season, which meant that we had to change our routine many times throughout the season while preparing for competition.  Our head coach was also injured right before practices began for the season, so she wasn’t able to show us some of the stunts during practices. Once, when a cheerleader hurt her arm during a practice, all of us went over to a little spot on the mat and prayed for her to be all right and not have a lot of pain that night.

Despite all of these unexpected setbacks, we ending up winning 1st place at our first Pop Warner cheer competition at the local level, which was especially sweet because of all that we had been through.  This also qualified us to compete at the bigger Wescon Regional Championships.

Rather than relax and enjoy our 1st place win, we got back to work right away and changed up our routine almost entirely for a JAMZ competition two weeks later, which was another success. I was so happy that not only did our performance look good, but that we could learn a new routine together so quickly and be able to perform it at a competition.  This definitely boosted my confidence.

Then, we needed to change our competition routine again for the Wescon Regional competition, which was now just another 2 weeks away.

If you are a cheerleader, you know the feeling of fear, anticipation, and a million butterflies fluttering furiously inside your body, as you run from backstage to center stage with your team, hearing and seeing the audience and judges, just before you begin your competition routine.  Despite the butterflies in my stomach, I believed in every one of my teammates to hit our routine and stunts, and believed we could score high enough to go to the National Pop Warner competition in Florida.

When we competed that day, we had all of our teammates and coaches in our hearts and did our very best. Everyone on our team has been very loyal, especially the injured, because they could have just left the team, but instead they stayed with us to support us and to show their love and loyalty to the team.   They still love cheerleading, and will heal and be back with us one day.

We were thrilled to win 1st place in our division at Wescon, considering the other talented teams that competed in our division.  We were even more excited to have qualified for the National Pop Warner Cheer Championships, which are in just a few weeks away in Florida. Here we go again!  I love cheerleading!


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Lana Lakdawala

Lana is in her fourth year of youth cheerleading, and has been to the Pop Warner National Cheer Championships twice. Lana was previously in competitive dance for six years. She enjoys participating in cheer clinics hosted by college, high school, and NFL cheer teams.

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