As the Morgan Hill Pop Warner Raiders Mitey Mites cheer team exited the stage after performing their routine in the Pacific Northwest Regionals on Nov. 20 in Reno, coach Sonya Reyes had tears of joy.
“They make me cry everytime they perform,” she said. “They were so happy and excited and crying because they knew they had done so good. Before they take the stage, we always talk about hitting the mat and leave it all on the mat. And that’s what they did.”
By finishing second out of six teams, the Morgan Hill squad advanced to the Pop Warner Cheer Nationals Dec. 5-9 in Orlando, Fla. The organization has set up a crowdfunding platform at https://gofund.me/d6850bc8 to help fund the trip and in appreciation of all the hard work the girls, coaches and parents have given throughout the season.
The Mitey Mites roster includes Amaya Madrigal, Andrea Banuelos, Ariana Reyes, Avalyn Noble, Brooklyn Allan, Dezi Solorio, Everly Min, Hattie Reuter, Jordan Arnhart, Maddie Madrigal, Madilyn Herrera, Matilda McQuaid, Nayah Robles, Penny Ortiz and Piper Green.
Assistant coaches include Sheila Madrigal, Monique Robles and Mandi Banuelos. The Junior coaches include Luviah Robles and Isabella Perez. A couple of the other Morgan Hill Cheer teams also excelled, including the Junior Peewee team which finished first in their regional and the junior varsity squad which took second place in their competition.
For the Mitey Mites—which feature one 9-year-old and the rest in the 6-8 age range—their journey started in August with the kickoff of the local Pop Warner season. They perform at all of the Raiders’ games and won two local competitions to advance to Regionals.
The Mitey Mites get graded on their tumbling, stunts, choreography and cheer, and they’ve energized the coaches with their enthusiasm and love for all things cheerleading.
“For being 6-8 years old, they’re amazing,” Robles said. “Every time I talk about them I get emotional because they get so excited for practice and competitions.”
Robles said this is the first time in “three-plus years” a Raiders Cheer team will be going to compete in the Pop Warner Nationals in Florida. Robles is particularly excited for the team because she competed on the same stage as a former cheer team member for a Pop Warner team in San Jose many years ago.
For Robles, the season has been rewarding because she gets more quality time with her youngest daughter, Nayah, who is one of the 8-year-olds on the team.
“I love it because it’s like our bonding time,” Robles said. “I have four kids but this is our time together.”
Before heading off to Florida on Dec. 5, the Mitey Mites will be making an appearance at the Morgan Hill’s annual Lights Parade on Dec. 3.
Sports editor Emanuel Lee can be reached at [email protected]