Cheer flips its way through exciting fall season

Michael Barthelemy and Kevin Thomas

With a highly experienced squad this season, the cheer team looks to create an exciting year through perfecting high level stunts and continuing to build a sense of community.

“This year we have a team full of returning cheerleaders, so we can work more on advanced skills,” head coach Crystal Malone said.

With more experience comes fewer numbers. Narrowing the squad this year dramatically, Malone chose only the most experienced and trusted cheerleaders as a way to maximize potential. 

“It is beneficial to have a smaller team,” Malone explained. “Having a team that’s all at the same skill level sometimes requires picking a smaller group.”

Because of the high level of experience the squad has, the team knows each other well and has a close bond. 

“I love being a part of the cheer team and being with all my best friends,” junior Alicia Payne said. 

The camaraderie of the cheer squad is unparalleled. They often schedule team bonding events in order to become stronger as a unit. Another key advantage to having a squad of returning cheerleaders is the fact that the team knows the schedule and stresses of being on the team.

“Having a team full of returning members is great as a coach because the kids already know what’s coming; it’s not their first rodeo,” Malone explained. “In the winter, on top of us having to cheer at two to three basketball games each week, we have to prepare for competitions of our own, so it can be very stressful for these girls.”

The one major question that looms over the cheer squad year in and year out is the burden to dispel historic stereotypes about the sport.

“One of our ultimate goals is to show leadership in the community and prove to others that we are athletes and take this sport very seriously,” senior Micayla Hancock said.

With basketball season just around the corner, the cheer team looks to continue their quest to success, opening up on Nov. 29 when the girls basketball team takes on Simeon at 7 p.m. in Beardsley Gym.