Cheer squad eager to hype up crowds at halftime

ETHS cheer has long been an integral component of football and basketball games, with an innate ability to garner enthusiasm and spirit within a crowd. However, many fail to recognize that cheerleading events stretch far beyond the sidelines. This year, cheer held their tryouts in May, and the athletes knew their teams before the end of last school year. Cheerleaders had practice all throughout summer, preparing for their appearance at annual community events, including the annual Race Against Hate, the Juneteenth Parade and the Fourth of July Parade, although the latter was ultimately canceled.

Leading the cheer program are second-year ETHS coaches Candice Sayles and LaShanda Banks. 

“The cheer season so far has been awesome,” says Sayles. “We are looking forward to coaching, motivating and mentoring the cheer team.”

The team had a strong start to the school year at the first home football game on Friday, Aug. 26 against Indian Trail. The exciting match, which resulted in a win for Evanston during overtime, was enhanced by the compelling performance of the cheer team.

“Even though I’m not on the football team, I get the rush [when we win],” senior varsity cheerleader Grace Motogawa explains. “Everyone gets together, they’re jumping up and down, they’re screaming, and it’s just such a surreal feeling.”

Moving forward, the cheer team looks forward to their homecoming performance on Friday, Sept. 30.

“I am confident that the cheer team will be a highlight of the halftime show,” states Sayles.

While every season holds unique qualities, cheerleaders expect this season to be particularly memorable.

“I think this season is going to be a lot different due to the combination of new coaching as well as having so many new cheerleaders,” says Motogawa. “We had a pretty senior dominant team last year, and all of those kids left, so I feel like we’re really starting up again.”