By Andrea Camarena

&#8220Give me a W!”

The sounds of cheerleaders will soon echo into the stands at Woodlake Football games. After going five years without cheerleaders, the Tigers will field a 15-girl squad this fall thanks to the ambition of Exeter's Angelica Ruiz.

Ruiz is the sister of Woodlake's head football coach Rick Ruiz. Rick approached Ruiz in October about starting up a squad at the school and with the approval from Athletic Director Tony Casares, she ran with the idea. Ruiz spent two years on the Exeter Union High School varsity cheer squad where she was a captain her senior year. She then cheered for one year at COS when the Giants qualified for state and national competitions. Working with Tigers cheer will be her first experience as a coach.

Seven months after the idea surfaced, the Tigers have completed tryouts and are prepared to field a 15-girl squad with half cheering for varsity games and half cheering for JV games.

Ruiz narrowed down the team April 4-7 at a three-day clinic and tryout where the girls were judged on jumps, cheers, a dance routine, motion precision and recovery.

&#8220They're good girls. Three or four standout and really help out,” Ruiz said of her inexperienced squad. &#8220I am able to separate the girls and have three or four leaders work with the others to help them.”

Three of the girls acquired some experience when a squad formed and disbanded within a single semester three years ago.

Inexperience isn't the only hurdle the startup team will have to clear. As a new activity (cheerleading is not considered a sport by the school), the cheerleaders will have to go into fundraising overdrive to raise money for uniforms and cheer camp.

&#8220Cheerleading is not a sport, so we don't get funding from the school,” Ruiz said. &#8220We have to fundraise every week this summer.”

The girls will start their efforts on May 13-14 at the Woodlake Lion's Rodeo. The Woodlake cheerleaders will be serving BBQ dinners in exchange for a donation from the Lions.

Part of the money will go towards sending the girls to a private camp run by Cheerleaders of America on July 27-29.

&#8220The community is very supportive and the football team is really excited,” Ruiz said.

Ruiz and the Tigers new cheerleaders hope to reach out to the community for assistance with an upcoming fan mail letter campaign.

For more information on how to support the squad, contact Ruiz at [email protected].

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