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Virgen: Johnson, cheerleaders help out with sports camp

August 09, 2013|By Steve Virgen
(KYLE BURLINGTON )

When Kori Johnson was a cheerleader at Costa Mesa High in the late 80s, she was a part of a different type of "stunt" team.

Back then, Johnson, who is now the Costa Mesa cheer coach, and the Mustangs didn't compete. They were left to performing wild stunts and tricks at sporting events.

"We did crazy stunts that are so illegal now," Johnson says with a laugh. "We would go three [people] high and I would get on the top and do a back flip. We did flips on the concrete. I think all the crazy things we did back in the 80s is the reason we have rules now. Every stunt we did back then now it's illegal."

Johnson said she enjoyed her time as a cheerleader at Costa Mesa and she remains friends with several of her cheermates. She said she also learned a great deal from her coaches.

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"Our coaches were strict and held us to high standards," Johnson said of Chris Taylor and Lyndy Morton. "A lot of stuff I do is from them and how they were back then."

All of the great memories Johnson had, she now hopes her cheerleaders will have the same type of fun and lessons learned.

Being actively involved in community events has been one of several strengths of the Costa Mesa cheer program. They were at the city's Free Concerts in the Park each week.

The cheerleaders have also become known as being part of Irrelevant Week, the annual weeklong party that celebrates the dead-last pick in the NFL Draft. Irrelevant Week takes place in Newport Beach and other parts of Orange County.

They're at it again.

Amid a busy summer, the Costa Mesa cheerleaders are helping out with the inaugural four-week Costa Mesa All-Sports Camp. The Estancia cheerleaders coached kids for the first two weeks. And now it's Costa Mesa's turn to work with the incoming fourth-graders through eight-graders within the Estancia and Costa Mesa high school zones.

The camp is unique in that it is free to the children. The camp relies on community donations to cover the costs that is estimated to up to $150 each child. The camp is still accepting donations, through Costa Mesa United at cmunited.org.

The camp had a good turnout during the first two weeks, Estancia principal Kirk Bauermeister said.

In the first two weeks, the camp had 203 kids come through in 10 different sports (baseball, basketball, cheer, football, soccer, softball, tennis, track, volleyball and wrestling).

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