By Jeremy McDonald
STAYTON, Ore.– It’s been four years since Regis last had a cheerleading team and former Scio coach JaAnna Mendes knows she has her hands full knowing she has girls who never had cheerlead before.
A few factors went into the Rams cheerleading squad going on the wayside. Their old coach left, then Covid hit and the program that had finished fourth in the 3A/2A/1A State competition in 2018, the competition season falling between December and February, had faded until Mendes stepped in as coach.
Mendes teaches at the school, getting a job at the school about the time she helped the Scio Cheerleading squad down the road to a fourth-place finish this past year before ultimately taking over the Ram program entering this next season. The first-year Regis Head Coach coached at Scio for seven years and had also helped the Loggers to fifth-place finishes in 2019 and 2020 and had them scoring at the State Meet back in 2018.
“I never had a problem with them wanting to work, they came in wanting to work. It took a year or two to build up some good relationships and for people to see the expectations so they vame in and knew it was going to be work. It took a couple of years in Scio too. (Regis) has competition as well. A couple of them here,” Mendes said looking up to the State Title banners in the rafters.
The Rams had won three State Championships in the late-2000’s in 2006, 2008 and 2009 as Mendes refers to them Monday as they kick off the first-day of a four-day try-out period. Seven girls were in attendance when practice started on the two strips of padding they rolled out in the Ram basketball gym. Knowing that it’ll be a lot of work to get the girls up to speed and ready to go for the Fall and into the competition season in December.
The Cheer Competition season goes from December until February.
“We definitely are going to have to take the first year (to build) because there is just…with how much work there is. There’s a lot more work than the girls think it is. In Scio we practiced five-days-a-week and games. Practices on weekends when we’re in competition season,” Mendes said. “We’re definitely going to learn this year for sure. We have a lot of work to do. I’m really excited. We’re getting there.”