Competitive cheer season begins promising


Eric Johnson

After rolling out the mats, and completing their stretches and warm ups, the competitive cheer team works on perfecting their routines for their upcoming competition.

Walking into our rival school’s gymnasium, the adrenaline rush of competition washes over the competitive cheer team. The days have finally begun where the team’s grueling hours of practicing for the competitions will show. On December 7, Michigan cheer teams compete at the Leslie High School Winterfest.

“I’m so excited for the season. We’re a small team. We’re a young team, but as far as skills, we’re really kicking it out,” varsity competitive cheer coach Betty Phillips said.

Sideline cheer and competitive cheer are two sports that often get mixed up with each other. While sideline cheer is mostly done on the sidelines of a football games through one season, competitive cheer all comes down to a 2 minute 30 second event that is composed of jumping, tumbling and dancing.

“When you get there, we set all of our stuff down and then we go and practice until our mat time comes and mat time is where we like practice all of our rounds before we go and show everyone and then we go back to practicing and we line up when we start,” said freshman Caitlyn Fowler. “When the team before us is up, we are standing in the hall waiting to go and then tell us that we may approach the mat.”

The team practices every day after school for two hours. After the school bell rings, the cheerleaders are expected to do homework, roll out the mats, run for 10 minutes for a warmup and stretch, all before beginning practice at 3 p.m.

The season for the Division 3 team has just begun, so the strength of their competitions is yet to be set.

“I think it will be hard, but not too hard, probably in the middle,” freshman Anna Schlaff said. “It’s always going to be kind of difficult because you are going to be competing with others, but it’s not about winning. It’s about having fun.”

It may be that work and effort are the same as fun when a cheerleader has been on the team for a few years.

“It depends on how many people want to put in all our effort,”  junior Ashley Gunn said. “By putting in a lot of work, the team will improve our overall score at competitions, leading us to first place.”

According to Phillips, the team has full faith in their abilities winning this season. They cheerful and hardworking at practice, and try their very best to improve on anything that needs to be improved on.

“Cheer is my favorite sport in general. It motivates me to do my very best,” Gunn said. “I cheer because it makes me happy and it is something that I’m proud to do.”