Soledad Aztecs Cheer Team
Soledad High School cheerleading team competes in their first-ever competition in school history in December. (Contributed)

SOLEDAD — Soledad Aztecs cheer coaches Anyssa and Krystal Santoyo, who have been involved in cheer since they were little, recently completed a dream of theirs, as the Soledad High School cheerleading team competed in their first-ever competition in school history.

The Santoyo sisters have been involved in cheerleading since the time of the Soledad Cougars and all through their time as cheerleaders at Soledad High, where they always wished the cheer squad was able to compete in competitions.

The highly competitive siblings knew that the Aztec cheerleaders could compete with anyone; they just needed an opportunity to show it.

After going away to college, Anyssa Santoyo returned to Soledad and became the new head coach of the cheerleading team. She added her sister to the coaching staff, and the sisters worked on making their dream a reality.

After years of trying to convince the school to let them compete, they finally got the OK.

“Anyssa Santoyo and I set a goal that we would compete one day,” said Krystal Santoyo. “After five seasons of coaching Soledad High School Cheerleading, these ladies made school history by being the first-ever SHS competitive cheerleading team.”

Soledad Aztecs Cheer Team
The Soledad Aztecs team qualified for JAMZ Nationals after posting a qualifying score of 91.4%. (Contributed)

The first competition for the Aztecs took place in December at the JAMZ event in Stockton. Entering the event, the Soledad cheerleaders made history as they became the school’s first team to ever compete in a cheer competition.

Once the Aztecs got their shot, they made sure to leave their mark. The team qualified for JAMZ Nationals after posting a qualifying score of 91.4%.

“For the first time in school history, Soledad Aztec varsity cheer team competed at JAMZ Friday Night Lights in Stockton,” Anyssa Santoyo said. “Krystal and I have always manifested taking this team to experience competition because we always believed they were capable of doing great things.”

Soledad will next compete at JAMZ Nationals later this month. But for the Santoyo sisters, this is already a dream come true.

“I couldn’t be more proud with how far the program has come,” Anyssa Santoyo said. “I am extremely thankful for our supportive parents. I am also thankful for our community and most importantly to our school who put their trust in everything and every decision that has been made. Our program continues to grow because of all our support we receive.”

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Jason Gallardo is the sports reporter for King City Rustler and Salinas Valley Tribune, a unified publication of Greenfield News, Soledad Bee and Gonzales Tribune. He covers high school sports for South Monterey County.

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