Mater Dei became the first high school ever to win both the varsity and junior varsity championships at the annual National High School Cheerleading Competition, which was held Feb. 28 in Orlando, Fla.
The Monarch varsity squad, under the direction of John Merino for more than 25 years, has qualified for the national competition the past eight years. Last year, it tied for first place with a high school from Memphis, Tenn.
The Mater Dei teams competed against the top 29 cheerleading squads from across the nation in each division. To qualify for the national championships, cheerleaders must first compete in and win regional competitions.
Members of the varsity squad include head cheerleader Kevin Kelly, Jay Byrne, Tamara Harris, Rob Hartstein, Daphne Henn, Cindy Herrera, Amy Keller, Fred Olivieri, Sean Parsons, Noelini Prietto, Monique Raymer, Jenny Schwary, Larry Signaigno, Marlene Solis, Sharron Stanowicz and Kristen Wilmot.