The Torrey Pines Junior Pee Wee Golden Falcon champions are headed to Las Vegas.
After winning the JAMZ competition in Anaheim, they have qualified to compete at competitions at Magic Mountain Classic on Dec. 5 and the JAMZ Nationals in Las Vegas on Jan. 27.
The squad is made up of fourth-, fifth- and sixth-graders from Solana Pacific, Del Mar Heights, Ashley Falls and Carmel Del Mar. For all but two of the girls on the team, this was their first year competing in cheer contests.
"These girls are just amazing; they really are," coach Sarah Wentworth said. "They're my inspiration, I absolutely love coming here after work."
Wentworth said that the girls come alive when they put on their uniform.
Since August the girls have been rooting on their Pop Warner football team. Cheerleader Blair Borneman said most of the girls understand the basics of football but they all know to cheer loudly when a touchdown is scored.
In addition to rooting for their Golden Falcons, they worked hard on their competition routine.
"It didn't take long to learn — we learned section by section and we run through it a lot," said Blair.
At practice, Wentworth and assistant coach Kelsey Rahn give the girls photocopies of pictures snapped during their performance so they can work on ways to improve. A little higher kick here, a straighter arm there.
Competing was a little nerve-wracking but fun, said Samantha Montalbano. She liked watching all the other teams perform and said she was surprised by their victory even though "nothing bad happened" in their routine.
Parent Deborah Gordon said after their big win, daughter Danielle told her it was "the best day of her life."