Flipping for joy

New competitive cheer coaches hope to make an impact


Karley Flores

Cheering at a varsity boys home basketball game against Northwestern, sophomore Malena Rosedale and juniors Alexis Killinger and Anna Schlaff perfect their round two performance. Their coaches use games like this to get as much practice as they can get for their three-round competitions.


Perfect takes practice. The competitive cheer team knows this, so they practice 12.5 hours per week, plus hours of performance at basketball games. Any time they can get helps as the team is much smaller in numbers than league competitors.

Hailing from a small school, the team competes in Division 4 of the Michigan High School Athletic Association (MHSAA). At events, for a heart-pounding 2 and a half minutes, cheerleaders perform stunts, jumps and tumbling in three rounds.

Having some skill in each category is ideal, and every cheerleader has different strengths in each round,” cheer flyer junior Cassandra Chapman said.

Cheerleading, like any sport, takes time to hone skills and perfect routines. Judges consider team choreography and synchronized timing in the first two rounds of a competition. The third serves as a free round to stack points.

Anna Schlaff, one of two captains on the team with the other captains Hailey Steinkraus, has always had a passion for cheerleading.

“Just being able to do what most people can’t do, and being able to have fun and work with the team, is why I love it,” Schlaff said.

She has cheered since she was 6-years-old, each year improving her skills and performance. Of her 2019 and new coaching staff, Schlaff said, “We can do a lot more. We’re capable of a lot more because we have more people behind us.”


Two of those integral people are new coaches Sara Steinkraus and Chasidy Taylor.

Steinkraus was a cheerleader her whole high school career at Stockbridge, and she wants to bring life to the sport again.

Coaching these girls with the help of Chasidy Taylor has been a privilege,” Steinkraus said. “They continue to work hard and improve at every practice. They want to win and that pushes me to want to be the best coach I can be.”

After achieving third place out of nine at Leslie, the focus for this year moves to improving team scores at each competition and look to improve on what they have done every single time.

To improve the team’s scores Chapman thinks their scores give the best indicator of where to work.