The Placer Jr. Hillmen cheerleaders are now a nationally ranked squad. The PJH cheer squad qualified to go on to a national level competition, and for the first time in six years, the team decided to accept the challenge. The Junior Hillmen placed third at the JAMZ National Cheerleading Competition, held in Las Vegas, Nevada on Feb. 10. They competed in the Youth III division (ages 13 and younger) that was comprised of 12 teams and came home with a huge trophy, individual medallions, and smiles that will last a lifetime, according to Marcie Trabakoolas, who will be taking on the PJH cheerleading coordinator position for the 2008-09 season. This was a huge success for our local Placer Jr. Hillmen Football and Cheer Association, Trabakoolas added. The PJH cheer squad that attended the national competition had 14 girls in ages ranging from 8 to 13. They were lead on to success by their instructors Brianna Sweet, Brittney Cole, and Amber Richmond. The coaches for the squad were Erica Valliere (PJH cheer coordinator), Marcie Trabakoolas (PJH assistant cheer coordinator), Katy Gomes, and Michele Wiggin. We could not be any more proud of the girls for their accomplishments, Valliere said. When the announcer called PJH to the stage for a third place trophy, we all had tears streaming down our faces. The PJH cheerleaders had been practicing for five weeks prior to the competition at Alta Vista Elementary. They learned an entirely new routine that had a very high level of difficulty and perfected it in a total of 18 practices. Their level of dedication and hard work truly paid off in the end. I feel that this is a huge breakthrough for PJH cheer, Trabakoolas said. It is just what was needed to build our program and make it even that more successful for years to come. To learn more about Placer Jr. Hillmen, visit www.placerjrhillmen.com. If you would like more information about how to be part of the PJH cheerleading squad for the upcoming season, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.