Natalie Hupp had plenty of experience with cheerleading competitions before Saturday — but never in her own right. The Corona del Mar High School freshman had grown up watching her older sister, who graduated in June.
So when Natalie, 14, joined the rest of her all-squad team Saturday at Valley View High School in Moreno Valley, the torch had been passed to a new generation of Hupps. By the end of the event, when the Corona del Mar team had won the Judges' Award and finished first in the varsity category, the torch was blazing indeed.
"We were just kind of relaxed that day," Natalie said. "We weren't expecting a lot, so we were really happy."
The team that Corona del Mar sent to the Sharp International Competition on Saturday featured members from all grade levels. For some, it was another victory for a squad that has shined in a number of meets over the last three years. For others, it was quite a way to start.