By Mattias Apse
For six years, Davis High alumna Anna Verdiguel has been a passionate cheerleader. She has numerous victories and injuries under her belt to prove it.
Verdiguel found cheer when some of her friends were trying out for the team, and her life changed completely.
“When I was a freshman in high school, you would have seen a super shy girl afraid to take leadership positions,” Verdiguel said. Now she is confident in herself and “way more capable of taking a leadership role.”
After four years on the varsity team and a second place trophy at nationals, Verdiguel graduated in 2015. She continued to cheer at UC Davis, which has been a different experience.
“College game day is more intense than high school game day. It’s more high energy . . . there’s more stunts, it’s less choreographed and lot more time consuming,” Verdiguel said.
In addition to a more intense game day cheer session, the competitive aspect of cheerleading is also more rigorous at UCD. “At DHS it was just a 2.5 minute routine, in UCD it’s more like a NCAA sport,” she said.
In addition to cheerleading at UCD, Verdiguel is also part of the Universal Cheerleaders Association. Working as an instructor for UCA, Verdiguel helps younger cheerleaders put together routines, which is “super rewarding.”
Verdiguel’s brother, Bernardo Verdiguel, is supportive of Anna’s passion. “I think it’s awesome that she has something that she loves so much and can pour all her positive energy into,” Bernardo said.
While Anna does love cheerleading, she also has to focus on academics. She is majoring in biology, with an interest in microbiology.
Verdiguel has found biology intriguing since she was a kid. “I used to play in the yard with the plants,” Verdiguel said. She began to see it as a career choice “since ZoBot. Mr. Peevyhouse really inspired me to just get into nature and explore the world around me.”
Verdiguel doesn’t see herself working in research if she makes a career in biology. “I see myself more in a teaching environment, or hands-on, especially because of my UCA experiences,” she said.
Even though Verdiguel sees career potential in biology, cheerleading also yields some possible career choices, such as coaching cheer teams or continuing to work for UCA.
Regardless of what path she takes, cheer will always be a part of Verdiguel’s life. “I don’t see a future without cheerleading,” Verdiguel said.