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The Honolulu Advertiser

Posted on: Monday, February 10, 2003

Three cheers for Kamehameha!

Advertiser Staff

Opening its performance to music from Disney's "Lilo & Stitch," the Kamehameha Schools cheerleading team beat out 63 other squads from across the nation to win the Small Varsity Division of the National High School Cheerleading Championship yesterday in Orlando, Fla.

The 12-member team wowed the crowd and judges with its 2-minute, 12-second routine that included aerial stunts and several tumbling sequences.

More than 5,000 cheerleaders from 48 states competed in various divisions at Walt Disney's Wide World of Sports.

"Our music was definitely an inspiration to the team this year," Kamehameha head coach Dolly Wong said of the song recorded by the school's children's choir. "It gave the girls a sense of strength, spirit and family — everything they needed to rise to the intense competition level they faced."

The Kamehameha team first competed at the nationals in 2000 but failed to advance out of the preliminary rounds.

"It's been a hard climb," Wong said, "but to see their hard work and commitment bring them so far makes this win that much more special for the girls."

Members of the Kamehameha squad are: Jessie Ahuna, Mia Archuleta, Tiare Camarillo, Kanana Dang, Roelle Ho'ohuli, Giselle Kim, Alyssa Kong, Shawna Lee, Kamaile Maldonado, Emi Manuia, Summer Maunakea, Tamara Patton and alternate Chanel Silva. The squad is coached by Wong and assisted by Melissa Beimes and Shannon Cosma.

A squad from Saint Louis School also competed at the nationals, placing 12th of 15 in the Small Coed Varsity Division.

Kamehameha will try to defend its state championship on March 15 at the Stan Sheriff Center.