Wednesday, April 23, 2008

2008 Raiderette Squad Announced 

Posted by Sasha at 6:04 AM ET

Tuesday, April 22, 2008
By Alejandra Montoya

Launch the photo gallery!

Football’s Fabulous Females are known for representing the Raiders organization with grace and dignity. Last week, over 300 candidates checked in for their shot at becoming part of the highly admired squad. After registering and receiving a number, participants presented themselves to a panel of judges. It was a long day of nerves and waiting as each anxious candidate got her turn to introduce herself. That afternoon, 122 lucky participants received their Phase II informational packets.

Phase II of auditions began Tuesday last week for all of the participants, which included both veteran Raiderettes and rookie candidates (everyone has to audition every season). The aspiring professional cheerleaders attended a two-hour dance rehearsal where they learned the mandatory audition routine. Participants attended another two-hour session Thursday.

This past Sunday, the eager Raiderette candidates arrived at 8:00 a.m. for check-in and received their numbers. They were split into groups and Phase II of the Raiderette Auditions was underway.

Each person engaged in an interview in front of a panel of 16 judges. Not only were answers being noted but the overall presentations including mannerisms were observed as well. The interview was also composed of a series of Raider trivia and morale questions. “These participants prove that cheerleaders are respectable and very intelligent women. They’re here to represent and I’m very proud of them all. Many veteran Raiderettes are back and it’s good to see them because it shows that the organization does give back to them and they want to come back to represent the organization,” said judge Victor Zaragoza, who is judging for the forth consecutive year.

Treasure F., 33, attended Raiderette Auditions for the fourth time this year. Hoping her time has arrived to shine as a Raiderette, she said, “I have taken dance lessons to improve my dance ability and I keep getting better. I advise anyone trying out not to not give up, anything is possible, you’ve got to go for your dream and with enough hard work you can accomplish anything. I’m here trying to prove that today.”

Twenty-year-old Natalie M. appeared relaxed right before appearing before the judges for her interview (she was part of the last group). “I feel pretty good, I’m trying not to think too much about it because that’s how you go crazy. I’ve been dancing for eight years so I feel pretty good about that aspect and now I’m just trying to mentally ready myself.”

Two-year veteran, Jovann C., said being a Raiderette is, “A life experience, it’s the greatest thing I’ve ever done.” When asked if auditions get easier each year with experience she stated, “It doesn’t get easier; it gets harder and harder because the bar is higher each year. The team is so good and you’re constantly pushing yourself to either meet that bar or keep that bar raised high and always trying to overachieve.”

Many of the participants were practicing the routine immediately after completing the interview process. Others ate lunch and said they were mentally preparing for the dance routine. The dancing segment is considered to be one of the most important components of Raiderette Auditions. “The level of abilities that the girls have in the competition is much higher than in the previous years and we are very pleased with the turnout,” said Assistant Raiderette Choreographer Laura Jollay.

After lunch, auditions quickly resumed. Jollay and Guest Assistant Choreographer Shawna Zimmerman demonstrated the routine to the judges for comparison. With that, Group I was escorted into the room with great haste. Each candidate swiftly ran to the spot on the floor for the shot at becoming a Raiderette. Ready or not, once each participant was in position to begin, the music began – and they were on! For most, the fast transition kept them from paying much attention to their nerves. For others however, the speedy changeover in combination with their nerves proved to be too much. While most smiled and danced through mistakes, others stopped and couldn’t resume.

By 6:30 p.m., deliberations came to end and the 2008 Raiderettes were selected. Candidates huddled, holding hands, their eyes clenched shut as they waiting to hear their number called out. As participants began hearing numbers called out, some sighed in relief, others waited to hear their friend’s name too before screaming and laughing for joy.

Jovann was excited to hear her number; she will be entering her third season with the Raiderettes this year. She encourages anyone who dreams of becoming a Raiderette to audition and to not get discouraged if they don’t make it the first or second time around. “It actually took me three times of auditioning before I actually made the team so there’s only 40 spots and you don’t always make the team but at least you walk away feeling better about being more prepared for the next season. If it’s something you’ve dreamt of doing then definitely do it and if you don’t make it, don’t give up because we all have gone through trying a couple of times before making it. Don’t be so hard on yourself,” said Jovann.

“I think this year was one of the most exciting finals we’ve had in a long time. We always have a tremendous team but the level of talent was just high throughout the process. In fact, the final votes were the highest I had seen in a very long time. We had beautiful candidates this year. They were a group of very accomplished women. I could’ve worked with any of those young ladies out there, they’re so tremendous and I think a lot of them will come back and try again next year,” said Raiderette Choreographer Karen Kovac.

With 13 rookies and 27 veterans, the 2008 Raiderettes are here for the Raider Nation to see! Check out the Raiderette Audition photo gallery later today and meet this year’s edition of Football’s Fabulous Females!

Hi-Res Team Photo

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