Frenship’s Donaho and Vela try out, make Texas Tech pom squad

Tara Donaho, left, and Briana Vela were selected for the Texas Tech University pom squad after a tryout. (Photo by Jim Jarrett)By Jim Jarrett

Frenship High School’s Tara Donaho and Briana Vela will be performing a little pom and dance in the future.

They were selected for the Texas Tech University pom squad recently. Donaho is a Frenship High School cheerleader, and Vela is a pom squad member this year.

Both were selected during a recent three-day tryout from a pool of 46 hopefuls.

Donaho said her dance background helped. She began dancing when she was 4 years old.

She currently works and dances at Talent Plus. Vela dances at Diana’s Dance Center.

Tell me a little about the process you had to go through to become a member of the Texas Tech pom squad.

Briana: “First I had to send in an application. We filled out where we went to high school and our dance experience.”

Tara: “There was a tryout process. You had to fill out forms, what your dance background was and that sort of stuff. They sent us a video a week before tryouts, and it had a dance and the fight song, a dance and two chants we had to learn.

“Then we went up there and went through everything they were teaching. Two nights later were preliminaries. We had to do the fight song and we had to do our technique across the floor like our turns and sweeps. They cut it down to 25. The next morning, we had to do another tryout where they taught us a combination on the spot and we had to perform it in front of the judges. We performed the dance on the video and had another interview. They based their selection on that.”

How important was your dance background?

Tara Donaho
Age: 18.
High school: Frenship High School. Will graduate on June 1.
Family: Parents, Kendra and Ed; brother, Jake.
College: Will attend Texas Tech as a dance major in the fall.
Church: Lake Ridge Methodist Church.

Briana Vela
Age: 18.
High school: Frenship High School. Will graduate on June 1.
College: Will attend Texas Tech as a dance major in the fall.
Family: Parents: Xavier and Sarah; sister, Sarah.

Tara: “Of course, you have to do all the technique and know what it is before you go in because you don’t want to hurt yourself. I would say you would have to have enough knowledge of the technique.”

Did you two work together?

Briana: “On Friday, we did in partners the cheer and the little dance they taught us. Tara was actually my partner when we tried out. That was actually fun.”

What was the most challenging part of the process for you?

Tara: “Going in and seeing other girls. There was 46 girls trying out for 14 to 16 spots. You worked so hard. You don’t want to work so hard and not make it. It was tough seeing the upperclassmen so comfortable because they have been through the process before and you are there so nervous.”

How long have you wanted to be a member of Tech’s pom squad?

Briana: “Two years ago, I wanted to try out for Tech pom squad. I knew I wanted to go to Tech. Going to basketball and football games and just seeing them, I wasn’t interested. Being in Frenship pom, it was something I wanted to really participate in during college. I wanted to be involved in the spirit and fun of Tech athletics.”

How did you hear about the team tryouts?

Tara: “My dance teacher told me I needed to try out. … After cheering at Frenship, I couldn’t imagine not cheering and being out on the field. I at least had to try and if I didn’t make it, I would try again.”

Tara, you were a cheerleader. Is there a difference between college pom and cheerleading?

Tara: “Yes. There’s a lot more dancing. That’s OK. I was a dancer more than I ever was a cheerleader.”

How did you hear about making the team?

Briana: “I was driving, going to check the list … Someone text (messaged) me and said congratulations. I wondered why they were texting me. I was kind of nervous. I ran up the stairs where they posted the list and saw my name and Tara’s name. I was so excited. I called my parents and was yelling. I was in shock.”

Where do you see yourself 10 years from now?

Briana: “I want to graduate with a public relations degree, hopefully, and working for a major company. Maybe also working for a professional team dancing, maybe.”

Tara: “I hope to be a photographer and, hopefully, I will be married.”

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