Pom, cheer perfecting routines before competition


Megan Lange

At Highland High School, Pom performs at a regional competition to help prepare for Nationals in the future. They showcase two routines for their performance.

Pom and Cheer recently competed at Highland High School on Dec. 3. It started off Pom’s competition season for this school year while this is Cheer’s second competition.

The teams practice their performances months before competition season. Cheer coach Desiree Houg explained, “We break [our routine] apart piece by piece like in the earlier months and then as we start gearing up and getting closer to competition, they start running what we call a full-out.” A full-out is the entire routine that cheerleaders and “pommies” perform at full capacity. 

While they may share the term, routines are different for Cheer and Pom.  Junior Sydney Thiel, a varsity pommie, detailed, “If you think about it, Pom is not tumbling on cheer mats. We’re dancing on the gym floor.” The importance of the mats for Cheer is due to the numerous stunts they perform. Both have flips in their performances; however, cheerleaders do stunts to a further extent. Pommies are more based in dance than stunts, but a variety of complex spins and flips are still in their routines.

“Their routines are set up differently than ours,” Thiel said. In Pom, music plays for the entirety of their routine. Cheer has music for a great portion of their routine, but it stops for a period of time for their chants.

For competition, Pom had two routines. One performance was for pom where they wore their competition uniforms and another was for jazz where they wore white leotards. In contrast, Freshman and JV Cheer had a routine together and Varsity Cheer had their own routine. The game day routine consists of all levels of cheerleaders.

Competitions themselves help the unity of the teams as well. Freshman Kaylee McKinzie on JV Pom stated, “It makes our bond stronger. We get closer together because we spend all day with each other and go through…intense conditions together.” Since Pom and Cheer are not individual sports but are team sports, this provides great improvement for the team.

Despite these bonds, personal obstacles are bound to occur. Sophomore Anaya Purdie on Varsity Pom described, “Sometimes, you mess up during one of your dances, and so you kinda just have to push that aside so it doesn’t ruin your other dances.” Other issues mentioned such as family emergencies or, as McKinzie added, the schedule being ahead of time, also must be tackled by both pommies and cheerleaders.

After the competition, Thiel noted, “There’s definitely a lot we could still work on. It was our first one, and I think that overall the energy was really good and we have a good morale already.” As a result, Varsity Pom placed third in pom and fifth in jazz. JV Pom placed first in both categories.

For Cheer, this competition meant something different to the team. Houg emphasized, “This one is a bigger deal for us because this one is what determines whether or not we go to Nationals.” Moreover, the overall goal for Cheer, Houg illustrated, “is to hit zero which means…nothing. Zero things go wrong.” When qualifying for Nationals, Varsity Cheer received first place and JV and Freshman Cheer received third place. In their game day routine, they all earned first place and luckily met their goal.

London Lambourne in JV Cheer mentioned, “I think that we have a lot of potential. I think we are just slowly getting there.” She believes the team has room for improvement, hoping for more strength in their endurance.

Pom qualified for Nationals before this competition. According to Pom coach Tenneal Howard, this competition was optional but was necessary for further practice.

The season begins on a good start for both teams. More pressure will rise throughout competition season and teams will grow closer in the next upcoming months.