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Smaller Audience,

Same Enthusiasm


Celebrating the return of high school sports by showcasing three dedicated programs.

Cheer, Jurupa Valley High School

Coach Jacob and a Varsity cheerleaderWhen Riverside County first entered the red tier, competitive cheer was permitted but sideline cheer was not, preventing the athletes from fully participating in their sport. Cheerleaders across the County protested the decision, and the guidelines were revised.

“It was great to support these girls during protest,” said Jacob Singhavong, JVHS Head Cheer Coach. “This is kind of the victory over cheer not being a sport, and kind of proving that it is a sport and it’s a very athletically demanding sport.”

The JVHS Cheer program has a Varsity Team of 25 and a Junior Varsity of 18. For sideline cheer, the girls act as crowd engagers and entertainers for high school sporting events. They perform general cheers during gameplay and routines during halftime. Memorization, coordination, and enthusiasm are essential to cheerleaders as they support and rally the athletes on the field or on the court.

“We really care about our teams here at JVHS,” said Venessa Gonzalez, All-Squad Captain. “We want them to know they have a support system even though they can’t fill the stands like they used to.”

Varsity Cheerleaders at the soccer game
On the competitive side, JVHS Varsity recently closed out their season as the Varsity Novice Show Cheer Division Champions for World Class Cheerleading’s Virtual Competition. “It’s not just a cheerleading squad,” said Aleena Valles, Varsity Captain. “It’s a lot of hard work and sweat that we put into this team.”

However and wherever they cheer, the most important part is that they cheer together. “The bond these girls have with each other is like no other,” said Jacob.


Boys Basketball, Rubidoux High School

RHS basketball player ready for a teammate to make a free throwAcademics is the priority for the RHS Basketball program. In his first two years as Head Coach for Varsity Boys Basketball, Roberto Corella never had a player become ineligible due to grades. 

“We never had that issue because every day we were always having the conversation,” shared Roberto. When COVID-19 hit, the conversations happened more sparingly. “Instead of a daily conversation it turned to more of a weekly conversation.”

When Roberto learned in early April that basketball might resume, he had about seven boys ineligible to play. Then the players heard they might compete again. “Their mindset just changed completely,” said Roberto. “We didn’t have one kid be ineligible when the [grades came out] in mid-April.”

RHS JV Basketball team heading out on the court
Now, though the season looks different and some skills are underdeveloped after a year off the court, the 21 players across the Varsity and Junior Varsity teams are just happy to be back. “It feels good to finally be on the court playing other teams again,” shared Dylan Shevette, Varsity Captain.

The two RHS teams have struggled to pull off wins this season, but neither has lost the grit and determination needed to push forward. “We’re competing. That’s the number one thing,” said Arturo Perez, JV Coach. “We want the kids to compete. It’s not about winning, it’s about them getting better. ​They love to play basketball, and that’s the most important thing. If they love it, they’re going to play hard for sure.”


Girls Swim, Patriot High School

PHS swimmer divingWhen the so-far undefeated PHS Girls Swim Team went up against Arlington, a larger team made up of fast swimmers, they knew the meet would be close.

“It’s definitely exciting because it’s going to come down to, well, who’s faster,” shared Head Coach Bryan Vides before the meet. “The kids are definitely excited because now they’re getting to put themselves to the test and really go for it.”

And go for it, they did. Though events were tight in the beginning, Patriot’s 14 swimmers ultimately came out on top, winning the meet with 107 points to Arlington’s 64. Riley Ackerman, one of two Varsity Captains, became the third PHS swimmer this season to qualify for CIF. “It’s kind of surreal,” said Riley of competing again after the last swim season was cut short. “But it’s good to be back.”

Brooke and RileyWith one of their toughest competitors behind them, the defending League Champions continued their dominance of the sport. At the 2021 River Valley Championship, the Patriot girls swam to first place, beating five other teams to maintain the title of League Champions. 

At the end of the day, though, winning pales in comparison to feeling part of a team.

“The best thing about being on the swim team is all the support, all the love the team members give you,” shared Brooke Larsen, Varsity Captain. “You come to practice feeling down, you go to your friends - your girls - and they’re like, ‘we got you, this is going to be great, we’re going to have fun.’ And they just change the whole vibe and the feeling of everything.”