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Cheer Preview: Welcome to the New Era of Westcliff Athletics

By Brandon Petersen , 08/12/20, 2:45PM PDT


Westcliff Athletics has come a long way in a short amount of time.

Turning two programs to 20 in two years, earning alliances with the Cal Pac and the NAIA, and soon, welcoming more than 450 student-athletes on campus, the Warrior story is impressive.

But for all that has gone right, something has been missing.  

Atmosphere. Culture. Tradition. Unbreakable unity.

These are the spiritual building blocks upon which fanbases are built. They’re found in every major college sports program, and their shepherds at Westcliff have heretofore been absent.

No longer.  

With the hiring of Cheer head coach Eric Anderson, Dean of Athletics Shawn Harris ushered in the new era of Westcliff Athletics.

“I am excited to introduce competitive and traditional sideline collegiate cheerleading to Westcliff University,” Anderson said. “It’s going to be a huge factor in bringing that traditional college feel and experience to the university.

“Go Warriors!”

Ninety percent of Anderson’s first team is comprised of freshman, and their story is already one unlike any this country has seen in over 100 years.

They were pulled from their senior years of High School in March. They missed their proms; they missed their senior activities and they missed their graduations.

“It’s been pretty tough to handle, but for the most part everyone is pretty positive and proactive,” Anderson said. “I have been able to dedicate more time to getting to know them outside of coaching. Zoom has been very helpful. I have all their cell phone numbers.”

Anderson used to coach Cheer at Long Beach State, and he’s used to recruiting big names from big name high schools.

Westcliff first competitive cheer team, which will consist of 16 to 20 Coed or all-women cheerleaders, is packed with talented resumes.

Ysabella Malo of Chino Hills High School is a former Level 10 gymnast, and John Guevra was named Male Athlete of the Year at Downey High after winning CIF and national championships in tumbling.

Tanner Waarn is a former member of the national championship team at Orange Coast College, Ricky Cervantes is a national level stunter, and Kayla Watkins, who joins Westcliff by way of Delta College in Stockton, and Federal Way, WA, is also a former high-level gymnast and experienced flyer.

“I was looking for talent, of course,” Anderson said. “But I wanted athletes with good attitudes, who are goal-oriented, team-players. And hard workers.

“I was very fortunate to get some really good recruits who are talented and want to make a statement our first year out.”

Anderson will have two squads in Westcliff’s first season, a large coed and an all-women team.

Competitive Cheer is performed on a 42x52 ft. matted floor, and routines consist of standing and running tumbling, partner and group stunts, basket tosses, pyramids and crowd encouraging cheer.

“They are judged on collegiate image, how well they communicate with their crowd, performance, technique, difficulty and execution,” Anderson said.

Anderson is a positive, goal-oriented coach.

“I expect everyone’s personal best,” he said. “One of my mottos is, ‘In order to be a champion, you must practice like one.’ I love coaching a hard-working team. Championships are won in practices, not at competitions.”

Anderson says he is fortunate to be surrounded by a talented and hard-working group of assistant coaches who share his coaching philosophy.

Luis Murcia, Brian Jones and Valerie Moncada are all former world champions, and Monique Mance has won numerous college national titles and competed at the world championships in the hip-hop division.

Atmosphere. Culture. Tradition. Unbreakable unity.

It has arrived.

The new era of Westcliff Athletics.

To contact Brandon Petersen, e-mail