The Precedent

Filed under Showcase, Sports

Cheer balances time on the sidelines and the mats

Lady+Pumas+hype+up+the+crowd+with+high+flying+stunts%2C+by+Kayla+Gee+
Lady Pumas hype up the crowd with high flying stunts, by Kayla Gee

Lady Pumas hype up the crowd with high flying stunts, by Kayla Gee

Lady Pumas hype up the crowd with high flying stunts, by Kayla Gee

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During the past month, varsity cheerleading has been working tirelessly cheering during football season while also hitting the mats for their own competitions in both state and nationals. Senior cheer backspot Madison Henkle has been with the school squad since her start in high school. As she leaves the team this year, Henkle is confident in her final cheer group and the upcoming competitions in the near future.

“The competitiveness, like in all sports, has grown. There’s a lot more difficulty, it’s harder to make the team… and we’ve definitely gotten a lot better,” Henkle said.

Teams of the past have hit routines perfectly, and this year coach Desiree Stinnett has seen a shift of mentality in the squad.

“They know how good they did last year and they really want to do better this year…they’re more mentally wanting to win,” Stinnett said.

Last year’s competition was marked by the closest cheer has ever been to state champions, and the determination to score perfectly has tensions running even higher.

“Our tumbling is more advanced this year so that helps us out with difficulty,” Stinnett said, ”knowing that you can’t control what the judge thinks about your cheer, all you can do is perform at the best that you can.”

In a short two minute and thirty second time slot, cheerleaders must push their bodies to the limit in a high-energy routine while trying to gain the audience’s applause. A performance is called to blend together stunts, tumbling, sign work and crowd pleasing.

When it comes time to hype up the crowd, the girls are already burnt out from the toll of stunts on the body, being more focused on skills and not crowd involvement.

“At that point of your routine, you’re super tired too, so trying to get your energy up is really difficult,” Stinnett said.

Any athlete can agree that, like cheer, sports can be draining if their time and energy is poorly managed.

Principal Dan Serrano especially expresses his belief that cheer as one a greatly challenging sport and said, “I think with cheer…they put in as much time or more than kids in sports.”

With his efforts, Serrano has given equal opportunity for more practice with integrating cheer as an elective for schedules.

“I think we’re probably one of the few schools that offers a class for cheer, so they’re not practicing hundreds of hours after school,” said Serrano.

Laborious drills and endless exercises condition the female athletes for the tough competitions to come. Cheerleaders are ready to take the mat and trophy home as they go into the new year.

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Cheer balances time on the sidelines and the mats