Cheer going to state, let’s take home the win!

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The Pumas are home to many triumphant sports teams, including one that numerous people tend to overlook and discredit as being a sport altogether. The cheer and pom team are once again heading to state with the pom team having qualified at the highest they ever have.
Head cheer coach Desiree Houg explains that, “Yeah, we have been going pretty consistently since I took over five years ago, before that we were hit or miss. Both the pom and cheer team compete against 20 other D1 teams and they only take the top 40%,”

The cheer team has not had an easy road to qualifying for state this year. They started out with a total of sixteen girls on varsity but two ended up getting knee surgeries and there was another one with a shoulder injury. Despite this, the team has remained positive and persevered through it.
Practices for cheer are extremely demanding, there is one practice during third hour and other two hour practices throughout the week. In these practices they condition by lifting weights, running, and performing full-outs (running through the entire routine).

“Going up to state we practiced about two times a day. One during school (third hour) and another two-hour practice after school. Those were long days, but it was so worth it because in the end we did qualify for state.” Captain Ashdyn Marr says. 

On another note with so much time spent together, the girls are bound to become close. Coach Houg says, “I would say that as a program they’re pretty close, we try to implement a whole big sis’ little sis’ system so that they always have someone to go to,” 

For many cheerleaders, the cheering road does not end with high school. Ashdyn Marr for example fully intends to continue cheerleading throughout her college life. 

“My goal is to cheer in college, I’ve applied to the University of Oklahoma, Texas Christian University, University of Mississippi, and ASU as a backup. I would love to cheer at any of those colleges,” she explains.

Other girls have chosen to split their time by taking up All Star Cheerleading as well. Unfortunately, doing both a full-time All Star team and school team is nearly impossible as it causes too much conflict with the schedule, but cheerleaders found a way around this by partaking in a system called a “half-season competitive team” that starts in February.
Arizona Element Elite uses this system for school cheerleaders to attend their gym after the school cheer season has ended.
“We have a small handful who choose to do it. I think about three or four this year are doing it,” Coach Houg states.

 Despite all of this, the cheer team intends to go for victory at state this year.