San Diego (KGTV)- A year later, ABC 10News checked in with a local competitive cheer team after they had to shut down following the pandemic. After months of virtual workouts and just recently being allowed to practice again, the group persevered and is on their way to the Cheerleading World Championship.
"We had to find different ways and things to do to keep ourselves conditioned," says Coach Jesse Chavez.
With nearly 80 young athletes and the uncertainty of the coronavirus, the Pacific Beach All-Stars had to cut their 2020 season short. Virtual sessions with the teams became the norm.
"We still couldn't really function 100 percent at what we would do as cheerleaders," says Chavez.
"The main thing was keeping the kids engaged and not wanting to quit," added Coach Deborah Sprewell.
After months of not being able to practice or compete, the cheerleaders finally made their way back to the gym. But there a few changes.
"The type of sport that we're in, it's really hard to learn how to keep your stamina with a mask on," says team member Jocelyn Lonzo.
The Pacific Beach All-Stars recently joined forces with the San Diego Show All-Stars, forming a new gym. Two of their teams virtually qualified for the Cheerleading World Championship, in May, in Florida.
"Going to worlds will actually be their first time performing in front of a crowd," says Sprewell.
Team member Chenna Baisch adds, "It's my 11th season cheering. I'm just like, wow, we're going to worlds."
"We're gonna be with the best of the best," says Beija McCarter. "That itself is just an amazing experience."
This is the first time a new gym in San Diego has made it to the championship in over a decade.
Although it's been a tough year, the athletes say the pandemic has brought them closer.
"To have a team, where everyone just loves each other, and we have been pushing and pushing so hard. We earned our spot at worlds," says Rylie Rygiel.
The coaches say they continue to follow health orders like having the two teams practice separately and frequent testing.