Jaden Regallo was a virtual recruit—literally. The soon-to-be Christopher High graduate has earned a spot on the University of Nevada-Reno spirit program as a cheerleader, putting a positive exclamation point on a high school career that was cut short due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“This made it 100 times more memorable and gave me something to look forward and work toward,” said Regallo, who was an equally accomplished gymnast, as she was a three-time Central Coast Section qualifier and likely would’ve earned a fourth CCS berth this season before Covid-19 hit. “I’m very happy to have this opportunity.”
With college coaches unable to physically meet recruits or watch them in action live amid the coronavirus outbreak, they’ve turned to video communication tools like Zoom to connect with prospective athletes.
Regallo, who had already earned an academic scholarship last fall to attend Nevada—she has a weighted 4.1 GPA—decided in February that she wanted to try out for the spirit program, which includes cheer, poms, stunts and mascots.
After two rounds of tryouts in April over Zoom—which consisted of choreography, chants, tumbling, stunting and interviews—Regallo felt she had purported herself well. A couple of days later, the Nevada spirit program sent an email to Regallo notifying her that she had made the team.
“I was actually in class so I had to keep all of my excitement inside,” she said. “But internally, I was screaming for joy.”
What made Regallo’s accomplishment all the more remarkable is the fact that she has only been cheerleading since her freshman year. Being a high-level gymnast helped accelerate Regallo’s transition into cheerleading, as both sports have a lot of similarities in the athletic and acrobatic aspect.
“I’ve been tumbling for as long as I can remember,” she said. “When I got the opportunity to cheer in high school, I got to tumble more and kept progressing. The more tumbling I did, the more it expanded my horizons. It really helped me with stunting as well.”
Regallo must have made a strong impression with Nevada coach Kim Anastassatos.
“It’s a grueling process to make it as a Wolf Pack cheerleader. The competition is fierce with more than 150 people trying out,” Anastassatos said in a press release. “But Jaden, with her talent and experience, will be a great addition to our team.”
Regallo, who signed her official letter of intent two weeks ago, will major in business at Nevada. For the longest time, earning a scholarship to play a sport in college wasn’t on Regallo’s radar. However, Regallo’s friends and coaches continually encouraged her that she was good enough to compete in college.
“It was everyone else’s goal, but it became my goal (to play a sport in college) after last year,” she said. “It’s turned out better than I ever could’ve imagined.”