Words by Gabriel Abit and Justine Tomas
For the UA&P Firestarters, to settle for anything less than perfect is not an option; it’s either they go big or go gold. This formidable mentality led to their triumph as champions of the Women’s Colleges Sports Association (WCSA) Season 16 Cheerdance Competition held on November 19, 2017 at the Rizal Memorial Coliseum.
UA&P surpassed six other competing schools, namely: Miriam College, Enderun Colleges, Assumption College San Lorenzo, San Beda College Alabang, St. Scholastica’s College Manila, and Philippine Women’s University. All routines were dazzling as they demonstrated the ladies’ athletic prowess both in gymnastics and in dance. The ladies from Miriam College and Assumption College delivered astonishing routines, thus landing in 2nd and 3rd place respectively. However, our dragons emerged the champions as their spirited performance outshone the others.
The Firestarters’ three-minute routine exhibited skills such as pike jump, toe touch jump, left and right splits, and pirouettes. These skills require intense training in order to perfect. The Bosun was fortunate enough to hear pieces of firsthand experiences from some of the Firestarters, including the captain and co-captain themselves, as they hustled their way towards bagging the gold in this year’s WCSA Cheerdance Competition. What they imparted did not only encase their experiences as individuals but also unveiled that the entire saga of winning the title was indisputably a collective effort of the team.
“This experience was really special to me since this was my last WCSA competition. Our goal was to deliver a perfect run and enjoy the whole experience. Winning gold was a bonus for us. In the years ahead, I expect Firestarters to continue to make the whole UA&P community proud and to continue to enjoy and love being a cheerleader.” – Jac Davies, Captain of the UA&P Firestarters.
Davies also mentioned that as a team, they were determined to keep training hard for the competition to ensure that they become stronger everyday. She added that the journey approaching the competition wasn’t a smooth ride from them, as struggles abounded along the way. Despite some of them being on the verge of giving up, their Captain said that they never forgot to motivate and push each other.
The remarks of Davies co-captain, Patricia Cabral, resembled what she said about the struggles that they had to face. “Preparing for WCSA was not easy. It involved a lot of sacrifices; but those sacrifices are actually what pushed us to improve every single day until the day of the competition”. There were a lot of ups and downs, but they ventured to maintain this year’s motto of the team: ‘always strive to beat the impossible’. Looking back to the behind-the-scenes preparations was one of their main sources of motivation.
Aside from the sacrifices of the captain and the co-captain, the success of the firestarter wouldn’t be possible without the hard work of the members themselves. Maris Rada, who is currently on her third year in being part of the Firestarters, said that the team and the coach had no plans on giving up on each other, which led to their well-earned triumph. Driven by their love for the sport and their ultimate goal to spread the pride of our UA&P community, they continued to fight with excellence.
“It was challenging because we needed to remind these girls of the reasons why they should continue believing in themselves and in the team. More importantly, we strived to bring back the “sister” in “sisterhood,” where we reminded each other to defend the team and take care of them in “heartbreaking” times. I have been with the team for three years now and I was able to create the strongest relationship with my girls who have been with me since 2015. I would have not achieved all the skills required for the routines given by coach without them inspiring me to stay close to them no matter how many bruises and struggles, how much pain and sweat we went through in all our trainings”.
“Last Sunday, November 20, 2017, together with the UA&P Wildfire and the rest of our UA&P family, we had another opportunity on the dance floor to cheer our loudest and prove to ourselves that we carry the spirit of UNITAS. Beating the impossible one more time, we brought back the Gold we once had.”
As the university celebrates its 50th founding anniversary, the Dragons continue to glare their ‘Go Big or Go Gold’ mentality, and blaze their own trails toward showing other universities that UA&P has indeed a vigorous arsenal of talented and determined athletes.