Baker All American Cheerleader


After achieving All-American cheerleader for five years, the dream of taking advantage of the opportunity to travel with other All-American cheerleaders from across the United States became a reality for senior Kerrigan Baker. 
Cheerleaders who attend United Cheerleaders Association camps have the opportunity to try out for the title of All-American. They are chosen based on superior cheerleading techniques in any of the area of jumps, tumbling, stunting, crowd skills and motion technique, leadership, and dance.
Only the top 12% of the cheerleaders and dancers from Varsity Spirit camps earned the chance to participate in a performance of this caliber and she was able to choose between London, Florida, and Hawaii. 
Choosing Hawaii, she, along with 800 other girls had the opportunity to participate with Varsity Spirit All-Americans in the parade before thousands of fans lining the streets of Waikiki Beach. The trip marked the 82nd anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor. 
Varsity brand Memphis-based Varsity Spirit, is the leading global source for all things spirit, including cheerleading, dance team,  and performing arts. A division of Varsity Brands, Varsity Spirit is a leader in uniform innovation, as well as educational camps, clinics and competitions, impacting more than a million athletes each year. 
“This was my last opportunity to do something big with cheer, something I’ve always had a passion for, and feeling confident with what I had achieved, I felt this was the year,” said Kerrigan. “My mom made me wait until my senior year and I’m thankful now, because all the hard work paid off.”
Preparing for the parade, she received a video about a month before so much of her practicing and learning the dance was before they left, “I felt well prepared,” Kerrigan said, 
Baker, along with 800 other cheerleaders and members of their families invaded the 24 story Waikiki Beach Marriott Resort and Spa. Their events with Varsity began Sunday, December 3 to Saturday, December 9. 
“When we arrived at the hotel, I noticed everything was open at the hotels and restaurants - no doors. There was even a bird sitting by me! That is when it hit me, I’m in Hawaii!” said Kerrigan
Monday, December 4 was their final fitting for their uniforms, although Kerrigan had received hers before leaving, Varsity made sure it was not too tight, or too short, and no tummy.  
The next day, Tuesday, December 5, they were supposed to visit the USS Arizona Memorial. Unfortunately Kerrigan’s mom, Lacey, got what she thought was food poisoning from some fresh tuna she ate the night before, so they were unable to go.  
December 6, they practiced from 8:00 to 11:00 AM. They were split into teams named Liberty (Kerrigan’s team), Stars and Stripes, and Brave and Freedom.
The main focus of the practice was knowing where to stand and mastering when to do their ripples with their poms, a move they do on different counts, like a wave. 
That afternoon was free, and even though Kerrigan had sprained her ankle in basketball practice two days before they left, she decided she was in Hawaii, and she was going surfing! 
Kerrigan knew a girl from Hugoton who was there, and they went surfing together, “We ended up on the same flight to and from Hawaii, so we had a lot of fun as families.” The girls had to paddle out which was about two miles, Lacey said, “We could not see her so I was a little nervous!” 
“I surfed about fifteen waves, and I actually got up on the board,” she said, “It was super fun and had a great instructor that nicknamed me Ratchet!” He explained his nickname choice was because she looked a little disheveled after being taken under by a wave. 
The next day was the parade, with check in time at 4:00 PM, for the parade at 7:00. The parade was along the beach on Kalākaua Avenue and lasted about an hour. “It was very patriotic, and we repeated the dance twenty-four times,” said Kerrigan.  
Lacey made sure to tell Kerrigan to jump when she got close to them so they would know which one was her, “They all looked alike, same uniform, blond hair, and red lipstick!” Lacey added, “I think her group was the best, their ripples were very precise.”
After the parade, the girls were treated to a sack lunch and water, “We were really tired,” said Kerrigan, “And it was about 9:00 PM and we were hungry for more than a sack lunch, so we walked fifteen minutes back to the hotel and enjoyed a nice dinner on the roof of the hotel with our Hugoton friends.” 
“Friday morning we had to shop!” Kerrigan and Lacey said. Their day and last night of their trip ended with the traditional Hawaiian Luau, which was by the light tower on the harbor where the ships come in. They took an Uber for the four mile trip which took 45 minutes. 
This was one of their favorite parts of the trip. They enjoyed learning about the culture of Hawaii through the many activities, and even learned how they opened coconuts, and how many uses there are for them. Lacey explained they use the water for hydration, the meat out of it for nutrients and proteins, the inside or husks are used for fires, and the shell is used for music and protection. 
Saturday, December 9, they checked out of the hotel at 11:00 AM and rented a cabana by the pool to enjoy their few hours in Hawaii before leaving for the 11:00 PM flight home. 
Kerrigan said everyone in Hawaii was so sweet, “I did not meet a single person that was rude, or disrespectful, it was super fun, but the highlight was surfing, the water was so clear, there was lava rock on the floor of the ocean, but I saw turtles, and some fish.” 
She would 100% recommend the trips to any All-American cheerleader. “It was fun getting to know everyone, and I met so many people from different states and I felt confident in my ability to represent my community.” 
“I was humbled by the support by my community and surrounding communities, without all of them, this would not have been possible,” said Kerrigan. 




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