Marina’s cheerleader put another ring on it

The Marina High cheerleading team had to overcome a fair amount of adversity this year.

A young team, with a large number of recent graduates. And at Saturday’s CIF Southern Section Competitive Cheer Championship at King High in Riverside, the fall happened early in the Vikings’ routine.

“It’s just a matter of recovery,” said Marina junior Kaylen Tran, one of the team’s two seniors, who has a sideline position. “We just wanted to leave that in the past and do other things… The energy on the floor was good, no matter how we felt about the fall.”

The Vikings were blessed for their perseverance.

Maleah Gamblin, center, carries Dorsey Tran on her shoulders during practice for the Marina High cheerleading squad on Monday.

(Scott Smeltzer / Staff Photograph)

Marina won the tournament in Division 4A. This is the Vikings’ second straight CIF Southern Section title.

“I feel like it wasn’t expected in any way, but we worked hard,” said Marina senior Maleah Gamblin, the team’s co-captain. “Although the last two weeks were difficult, we had injuries and other things. It was nice to be rewarded for that… We were just taking pictures [after we won] just taking it all in. It is always a difficult time to adjust. We didn’t hit zero [elimination] style, but it was a good practice and we recovered so it was good to win like that. “

Marina’s other varsity seniors include Mia Bontrager, Hailey Jamison, Addison Persall, Heidi Chisnall and Hannah Piper. Jordyn Bustamante and Annika Weber are the other juniors on the team, while Marley Ware is the only sophomore.

The Marina High cheerleading team won its second consecutive CIF Southern Section championship on Saturday.

Recent additions to the 15-member cast included Karly Lemmon, Abigail Dakin, Taryn Klasson, Dorsey Tran and Keira Galiana.

“A lot of tears of joy, that’s for sure,” longtime coach Marina Vraunwyn Denny said. “They’re small but they’ve made it.”

Denny also thanked his assistant coaches, Lexy Gutierrez and Katie Shetland, for their commitment to the program. Gutierrez graduated from the Marina cheer program in 2016 and has been coaching at her alma mater ever since.

Members of the Marina High cheerleading team practice Monday in Huntington Beach.

(Scott Smeltzer / Staff Photograph)

Next up for the Vikings is this weekend’s CIF State Regional Cheer Invitational, held at Mira Costa High in Manhattan Beach. Marina competes in a non-falling, junior high school class.

Then it goes to the Universal Cheerleaders Assn. High School Nationals in Florida, which begins February 10. Marina has also won two straight UCA Nationals titles.

In other CIF Southern Section results, three-time champion Costa Mesa finished fourth in Division 4A. The Mustangs had won the title every year since cheer began as a CIF sport in 2018-19.

“We were down a little bit so we took fourth,” coach Kori Johnson D’Agostino said in a text message. “I hope [this] week here they will redeem themselves.”

Edison placed eighth in Section 1A, while Newport Harbor (fourth place) and Huntington Beach (eighth) competed in Section 2AA.

Fountain Valley was sixth in Division 2A, and Ocean View finished 10th in Division 4A.

Marina High cheerleading coach Vraunwyn Denny talks to members of the team during practice on Monday.

(Scott Smeltzer / Staff Photograph)

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