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Moses Lake’s Villegas signs with University of Idaho Spirit Squad

by GABRIEL DAVIS
Staff Writer | May 23, 2024 5:05 PM

MOSES LAKE — Moses Lake Senior Kamaya Villegas signed her letter of intent Wednesday in the Moses Lake High School gym to join the University of Idaho’s Vandal Spirit Squad as part of both the university’s Vandal Gems dance and Vandal Cheer teams.

“I'm feeling pumped up,” Villegas said before the signing. “I'm excited.”

Villegas said her choice of UI was influenced both by the university’s dance and cheer programs and by the school itself.

“I looked into it and, I don't know, I just wanted to try out for some dance teams and I kind of liked Moscow too,” she said. “And I like the campus and everything, so I was like, why not try out here? And I did. It was between going into the military or doing this or going somewhere far and dancing.”

Villegas has spent her entire time at Moses Lake High School, all four years, as part of the school’s drill team.

“It has been, I would say hard, mentally and physically, but also the most amazing experience someone could experience,” she said. “Not everybody gets that opportunity, and it taught me a lot of things; how to be a better person, but also how to have time management and (it taught me) a lot of life lessons.”

Villegas said she has been able to familiarize herself with the program and likes what she has seen so far. 

Jaylynn Hernandez, head coach of the MLHS drill team, commented on UI’s Spirit Squad.

“I've heard great things about the program,” she said. “I've talked to the coaches over there; they seem just really, really excited to be getting girls from all over, so I'm very glad that Kamaya was able to get one in the spots.”

Villegas said her time with the Mavericks has been fairly competitive, and she said she believes UI’s program is also going to be competitive.

Hernandez also reflected on Villegas’s time in Moses Lake. 

“I've been coaching Kamaya for the last four years,” she said. “It's been a great four years, and prior to that, I also teach at the studio she dances at, so I've probably been watching Kamaya dance since she was like 9 years old, and it's been a journey.”

Hernandez said the signing feels surreal.

“I still feel like she's that 10-year-old girl dancing in the studio, but I'm really, really excited for her and I'm going to have to go catch a couple of games now,” she said. “I still get to watch her dance, so I’m really happy.”

Next year’s team won’t be the same without Villegas, Hernandez said.

“She walks into a room, the room lights up for sure,” she said. “There's never a boring moment with Kamaya around, so it's going to be hard to adjust, I think. She's definitely going to be missed, but we'll definitely be cheering her on … I feel like it's going to be a little too quiet at practice now.”

Despite the fact that Villegas is leaving MLHS, Hernandez said the prevailing attitude is very positive.

“I think the whole team is just so excited for Kamaya,” she said. “Everybody wants to go on and dance at college and it's not as easy as it looks, so we’re definitely proud of her … I would say Kamaya’s dancing background definitely made her a shoo-in. She is such a natural, if you've ever been able to see her perform, so I think those judges and coaches definitely saw that when she tried out.”

Gabriel Davis may be reached at gdavis@columbiabasinherald.com.



    Moses Lake High School senior Kamaya Villegas, sitting second from the left, gathered with her friends, family and coaches to celebrate her signing to the University of Idaho’s Vandal Spirit Squad.
 
 


    Moses Lake High School senior Kamaya Villegas sits with the Moses Lake drill team coaches during Villegas’s Wednesday afternoon signing to the University of Idaho’s Vandal Spirit Squad.
 
 


    Moses Lake High School drill team member Kamaya Villegas and her family sit inside the MLHS gym to commemorate Villegas’s signing to the University of Idaho’s cheer and dance teams.