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Spirit leaders work hard
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They work just as hard but don't get much recognition.

Members of the Ceres High varsity and JV cheerleading squads dedicated part of their summer to training for the 2005-06 season.

”We started practicing the last week of June,“ said Ceres coach Elaine Maranise.

They attended the United Spirit Association Camp at Stanislaus State, July 7-10.

The first day, they performed a routine, which was put together in two weeks. They were also evaluated on pyramids and stunts, halftime length cheers and game action cheers.

”They put all evaluations together at the end of camp,“ Maranise said. ”Both varsity and JV squads took home the superior award, which is the highest ranking.

”One varsity cheerleader (Randi Ramsdell) made all-stars. More than 200 tried out. Fifteen were selected.“

Ceres High also spent four days at Power Cheer Camp in Modesto. The Bulldogs worked on choreography and stunting.

Maranise's program features 21 athletes.

The varsity squad has 10, including Ramsdell, Melinda Verissimo, Heather Kimura, Nicole Khoury, Teryn Hansen, Staci Young, Aysha Valdivia, Ashley Santos, Crycinda Hollins and Katelynn Cuevas. Ramsdell and Verissimo are team captains.

The JV squad has 11, including Kayla Ahart, Ashleigh Gresham, Christina Dempsey, Paris Shepherd, Brooklyn Andreason, Morgan Richardson, Jacquelyn Lenz, Taylor Cuevas, Mika Johnson, Morgan Welsh and Velma Valenzuela. Ahart and Gresham are team captains.

”The other students don't know how much time we put into it,“ said Ramsdell, a third-year varsity cheerleader. ”They think it's easy.“

Both teams practice two hours a day, four days a week. They learn new routines. They also lift weights.

”We spend about 45 minutes to an hour on stunts and pyramids,“ Maranise said. ”We're always trying to build something new.“

Ceres' cheer squads perform at all varsity and JV football games. They also provide encouragement during freshman home games.

This winter, they'll support the boys basketball teams.

”They work very hard,“ Maranise said.

This is Maranise's second year coaching cheerleading. She teaches ninth and 12th-grade English.

”I like coaching so much because it's a good connection with the kids,“ she said. - By DALE BUTLER / Staff reporter of the Ceres (Calif.) Courier