6 former Moanalua cheerleaders now on the college scene

Blossom Caballero‘s cheerleading squad had a busy time last week, cheering for three of the Moanalua volleyball team’s matches and one of the football team’s games in Las Vegas.

Na Menehune cheerleaders are among the state’s best when it comes to the state tournament. They’ll be going for the medium division state title later this year. They also have three state crowns in the last four years (2015 large, 2016 medium, 2018 large), and the year they didn’t take states (2017), they earned the National Cheerleaders Association championship in Dallas.

Caballero’s squad reunited with UNLV freshman cheerleader Kamalani Newman last weekend in Vegas. She was a four-year Moanalua cheerleader and is one of six former Na Menehune now on the college scene.

The others are:

>> Junior Anuhea Keene (Weber State cheerleader)
>> Sophomore Mariah Tanner (Oregon acrobatic and tumbling team)
>> Freshman Ashley Manz (San Diego State cheerleader)
>> Freshman Lacey Wilson-Pena (Northern Arizona cheerleader)
>> Freshman Nicole Lauro (Cal Baptist cheerleader)

“All of them cheered all four years in high school,” Caballero said. “They all also have an all-star background, cheering for Aloha Cheer Academy, a gym I own in Waipio. Half of them also have a gymnastics background and some have been cheering since they were little.

“They were ride or die cheerleaders. “They would have done anything to cheer. Hardcore. Cheerleading was their life and still is.”

Prior to transferring to and cheering at Weber State, Keene was a member of the University of Kentucky squad, a national power. The Wildcats have won a record 24 Universal Cheerleaders Association National College Cheerleading Championships.

Caballero was a four-year Moanalua cheerleader and was a member of a Na Menehune state championship team in 2003. She also cheered for Hawaii Pacific in college for two years.

“We went undefeated that year,” she said about 2003.” That was the first time that ever happened for Moanalua. In the OIAs, we tied Radford and we were still tied after two tiebreakers — something that also never happened before, so it was special to come back and win states after that.”

Caballero thinks the five seniors on this year’s 10-person Moanalua squad have potential to cheer in college.


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