Raven Tikka Interview by Zoe D'Angelo Nomination by Paige Lemieux Photography by Launa Penza Photography California Issue 18 | Sports
Raven Tikka is an inspiration to all that meet her. She is a competitive cheerleader and a World Champion on Californian Allstars Team Reckless. She has demonstrated her love for cheering as she recovers from a major ACL (knee) surgery. Recently she participated as an All-American cheerleader representing the United States in London's New Year Day Parade. She is the Captain of her high school team and a member of three teams covering cheer, stunt and competitive cheer. She also enjoys coaching. Her favorite are special needs cheerleaders, as they have so much love for the sport. When not doing cheer, she enjoys watching the Bachelor, hanging with friends and volunteering.
When did you start cheerleading and why?
I started cheering when I was 11 years old for Westlake Braves Youth Football and Cheer. I loved sideline cheer so much that when the season ended, I started looking for a gym to start tumbling so I could gain new skills, and joined CheerForce. I’ve been cheering ever since. I’m currently a member of California Allstar Team Reckless. It’s a level 6 international team and we are the 2018 World Champions. I still do sideline cheer for Oak Park High School as well as the newly recognized cheer sport called STUNT. I cheer for fun and I cheer competitively, but mostly I cheer because I love the physical and emotional challenges the sport offers.
Tell me about your experience walking in the New Year’s Eve London parade!
Being an All American Cheerleader is such an honor. The experience was amazing meeting cheerleaders from all over the United States, coming together to show our spirit. Walking the parade route was super fun, yet nerve racking at the same time. I loved taking in the sites of London and enjoying the winter weather. The highlight of the trip for me was watching the fireworks over The London Tower Bridge.
Other than coaching special needs kids, what age levels do you like coaching best and why?
That’s a tough question. I love kids and all the energy they bring. But I also enjoy the technical skills that come with higher skill levels. I like to work with the younger children sharing the love I have for cheer with them. I want them to have someone to look up to! I like working with the senior level teams helping them improve as they get older and better in the sport of cheer. I think that’s why coaches coach multiple teams, so they get a mix of skills, patience and chaos.
What were some things you did while you were recovering from your ACL injury?
Last year I destroyed my knee and my season with one tumbling pass. It’s taught me that tough times don’t last. Tough people do! I continued to go to practice for my three teams, plus physical therapy. Recovery is a slow heal and I learned how team extends beyond being on the mat. Do you plan on continuing to cheer in the future?
I can’t imagine my life without cheer. I’m focusing on getting my skills back and looking forward to college tryouts this spring. I would like to cheer as long as my body and life allows me to.
What is your favorite season of the bachelor and why? I loved Arie’s season. How he got in his head about what he thought would be better at the time (Becca) and forgot to follow his heart. It was so clear Lauren was the one. I’m so happy they got married in January and that Becca found love too.
Raven will be featured in Issue 18 of Inspiring Teens Magazine.