SIERRA VISTA — It didn’t take long for Christina Navarro to see the potential Sierra Vista cheerleaders had when she first moved to the area in 2017.
The future she saw for the young cheerleaders led her to create Sierra Vista Elite, a nonprofit for local cheerleaders to compete on a national stage, as well as be better prepared for high school and collegiate cheerleading. Navarro believes if she went the business route over the nonprofit way she wouldn’t have had as much success as she’s had.
“I don’t want to make money off kids who want to work hard,” she said. “No one in this town has a chance to experience something like this”
Less than three years later, Navarro and her team are opening a new facility, located at 664 E Bartow Dr in Sierra Vista, to fill the demand of her program.
“Honestly we just needed it,” she said. “We’ve tripled in size.”
Navarro said when she first started Sierra Vista Elite she had to beg girls to join and could barely manage to get 16 to commit to the competition season the following year. The girls didn’t place at any of the competitions.
However, the following year, she had 20 girls who wanted to continue the squad. In January the group, better know as Team Royalty and who ranged in age from 9 to 14 years old, won the national title in Las Vegas at the JAMZ Youth Nationals title.
This year she has 46 athletes signed up and because of the demand created two new teams, Team Queens and Team Reign. Team Royalty, the original Sierra Vista Elite cheer team, is a 13U level 2 team, while the newer teams range from beginners to more experienced cheerleaders. Team Queens is a level 1 team for 10 year olds and younger, while Team Reign is and 18U squad for level 3 athletes.
“We want to offer competitive cheer to as many people as possible,” Navarro said. “We will grow with the demand always and we will create teams based off the kids we bring in.
“If they are hard working and dedicated, they are always welcomed here.”
Navarro coaches the level 2 and level 3 teams. She has been coaching since she was 14 years old and has coached recreation teams and at the All Star level. Her level two 2 team will defend their national title at the end of January in Las Vegas. The grand opening for the Sierra Vista Elite facility will be held on Sunday from 3 to 5 p.m. Their will be an open gym for $10 and multiple prizes to be raffled off.
Navarro said she, her team of coaches and parent volunteers have worked on getting the floor and new space ready everyday for the past month. Before having their own gym, the teams would practice in different gyms and cafeterias across the city, which Navarro admits was added stress for her and parents. The new gym also allows the teams to practice more than they were.
“We want this to be their home away from home,” she said. “I think this program has the potential to be an All Star program.”
The new facility allows Navarro to open up Sierra Vista Elite to the public. She said starting in January they will offer classes for those already in cheerleading and for those who want to try cheerleading before committing to a squad. Some of the classes that will be offered, according to the Sierra Vista Elite website, are tumbling, rising stars and flight classes. For more information and pricing visit sierravistaelite.com.
“I want something for everyone,” Navarro said. “I want it to be a well-rounded program.”