Last Saturday, December 15th, marked one the first competitions of the 2007-2008 season. It was held in the same venue as USA Nationals: the Anaheim Convention Center. As you may have read in previous posts, there were four schools that competed at this year's So Cal Classic: Channel Islands, Glendora, Hoover and Oxnard. In the 1-flag division, Oxnard went first, followed by Channel Islands. In the 2-flag division, performing first was Hoover, then followed by Oxnard, Glendora and Channel Islands.
Through this post, I want to address both the actual competition and all the "chatter" happening in the Chatterbox.
Here is the recap of the placements in both divisions and USA Nationals bids awarded that day (if there is any wrong information here, please let me know so I may correct it. I was not quite 100% positive about Nationals bids):
Qualifying with a bid to Nationals:
1-flag… Channel Islands
2-flag… Channel Islands, Glendora, Hoover and Oxnard
1-flag… First Place- Channel Islands
2-flag… First Place- Channel Islands
Second Place- Hoover
The 1-flag division was sort of shaky. Since it is so early in the season, you know that both Channel Islands and Oxnard were probably more focused more on their 2-flag routines than their 1-flag. And watching this division, you know this is true. Because their 1-flag routines are so fresh and new, they will most likely get an overhaul for Agoura in about a month.
The 2-flag division is a different story. There were pretty strong showings from all four teams:
First up was Hoover, who brought their 2-flag routine that they had at the Sharp Extreme Camp competition this past summer. It was a lot cleaner and had 8 girls versus the 5 that they had camp. They were enthusiastic and deserved their 2nd place finish. And you could tell that they were ecstatic about their placement. Well deserved. Yes, they did do an "angle line" a la "carson showoff," but unless someone has tangible evidence that their school was the first school to ever perform it, then I don't believe it belongs to anyone. I've even seen an old yearbook from the 70s from Channel Islands High School with a picture of the Short Flags squad in a "showoff"-like pose. In Hoover's routine, it was not executed in any way like Carson does it, so the only similarity was the angles. But does anyone own a high-v? Or a "T"? I'm pretty sure that Channel Islands originated the "thigh-stand/mount while hitting various angles," but no one freaks out anymore when someone else does it. It's the cycle of performing arts/spirit teams. Type "twistercheerleader" in the Youtube search bar and watch all the All-Star Cheer teams from around the United States competing at the 2007 Cheerleading Worlds. Tell me that they don't include the same elements or aren't structured the same way. The dance world is just the same. It all comes down to: WHO DOES IT BETTER? Yes, Carson is the school that we all associate "showoff" with. They are the team that popularized the move. But you better believe that teams will still execute it within their routines in various other ways. You need to just… DO IT BETTER.
Second up was Oxnard, who brought their routine from the 2005-2006 competition season. I personally do not remember that specific Oxnard routine, but I was told by others that it was indeed from 2006. After watching the 2006 Nationals video, I verified it to be the same routine. The only difference was instead of 3 people, they fixed it to be performed with 5 (although they do have a total of 9 on the squad this year). We've seen routines reused all the time in the 1-flag division, revamped for a new season or just in the beginning of the competition season while they are still working on the real competition routine. The latter is what I presume Oxnard is doing. I expect to see a totally new 2-flag routine from them at Agoura or West Covina by the latest. Given that Oxnard's team is very young, I believe it was a wise choice to bring an old routine to So Cal Classic. It gives the new members a chance to work on their traditional tricks and twirls that their team has slowly been building throughout the few years they have been competing. As one of the schools that have made it to Finals for 2-flag at USA Nationals the past 2 years, don't count Oxnard out quite yet. It still is really early in the season and is anyone's game.
After Oxnard was Glendora, who opened up with their signature girl tossing a flag in the air, doing an illusion, and catching the flag. Glendora came strong with their unique style and finesse that only Glendora has. This team, like Oxnard's, is a young team as well so expect them to only get better as the season moves along. Glendora continues to surprise the pep flag community by making it to Finals. With a flair all their own, if it's combined with clean execution, there should be no reason to be surprised. Glendora stands alone with their style and that's what makes them stand out to judges. Their uniqueness makes them memorable.
Lastly, Channel Islands took the floor. By reading the Chatterbox, the hype that surrounds their performance precedes themselves. I wouldn't let all the hype fool you though, the girls are still not near the best of their ability. I mean, what squad is at that point in December? If you have a chance to watch them, don't come with any preconceptions that they will be phenomenal. I would come with no expectations. That way you can make your own conclusions after watching them live. My girls did the best they could considering it is early in the season. For that I am proud, but they still need a lot of work. Like it was said in the Chatterbox, our flag change section was a little shaky but for the most part the performance as a whole was good. The routine needs to be cleaned and little changes need to be made, just like every other team working on their competition routine right now. We strived to make the routine have that WOW potential… and I hope that they projected that wow when they performed. We would hope that it's not "so-complex-and-dynamic-its-messy." Thanks for those who think so, though. Gives us something to strive to do better. And to clear something up: the girls are not big-headed. I don't know what reasons they could give you to come to those conclusions. They approached Hoover and asked to take pictures with them, and then called over Oxnard. Glendora had already left the arena or else I'm sure they would have called them over too. This year's old members were part of the teams got 2nd AND 3rd place at USA Nationals in the 2-flag division. They were part of the team that had the so-called "BEP meltdown" and experienced not moving on to Finals in the 1-flag division. Then they had the opportunity to experience last year's triumphs. To actually for the first time be USA National Champions. So they've come a long way, gone through many obstacles and hardships. They have put so much into the team. So I would appreciate it if people would not talk down about the girls, especially if you don't know them personally.
Along with Arcadia and San Pedro, the schools that competed here at So Cal Classic all had the strive to get themselves out onto the competition circuit early in the season. I commend all for their efforts. They can only get better from here. In about four weeks, USA Regionals weekend will happen and this year's competition season will "officially" begin: Agoura and what was before Fountain Valley, now Orange Lutheran. Exciting, scary, intimidating, anxious… soon enough all the team's will take the floor. With the outcome unclear we can only hope for the best: that our teams perform to the best of their ability. So come out and support your favorite teams.
Happy Competition Season!