Cheerleaders compete at UIL State Spirit Championships

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Cheerleaders compete at UIL State Spirit Championships

Principal Jennifer Boren accompanies the varsity cheerleaders before the team leaves for state competition following a school-wide send-off.

Principal Jennifer Boren accompanies the varsity cheerleaders before the team leaves for state competition following a school-wide send-off.

Alyssa Seaton

Principal Jennifer Boren accompanies the varsity cheerleaders before the team leaves for state competition following a school-wide send-off.

Alyssa Seaton

Alyssa Seaton

Principal Jennifer Boren accompanies the varsity cheerleaders before the team leaves for state competition following a school-wide send-off.

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The cheer team competed at the UIL State Spirit Championships Friday, Jan. 17 at the Fort Worth Convention Center.

The competition is split into three preliminary performances that each last a minute: a band dance, a cheer and a fight song dance. This was the second time the cheer team competed at the championships. Cheer sponsor Nicole Moore said the team had about three minutes to showcase their routine.

They could’ve started not knowing anything, and all of a sudden there was a huge choreographed thing going on with all these ripples, motions and formations.”

— Nicole Moore, cheer sponsor

“The competition is kind of what some would think a cheer competition would look like,” Moore said. “It’s that big, and it’s that grand. There are hundreds of teams there, and you are lining up behind one another and getting on a stage with lots of lights in your face and perform for a big audience and judges. We did not make finals this year, however, the goal is to prepare squads and have them practice on a competitive level for what they actually do, so we’re thankful for the opportunity to compete.”

The team started preparing for the competition in October, with after-school practices every Wednesday and Thursday leading up to the competition.

“Every day I would go into practice I would be amazed by what the girls had accomplished,” Moore said. “They could’ve started not knowing anything, and all of a sudden there was a huge choreographed thing going on with all these ripples, motions and formations. We actually hired some WT cheerleaders who know the competition, the skills we need, and they come in and work with our girls. They worked well together, formed new stunt groups and took on different leadership roles. It was truly amazing.”

Senior Jordan Smith said although the team did not make finals, the competition was a learning experience.

“It was very nerve-racking, but we had worked so hard, so we were excited to finally show up for something we had been preparing so long for,” Smith said. “We spent many hours memorizing our material and perfecting it, and even had one competition at Amarillo High, where we went and showed the community what we had been practicing. That was more calm and showed everyone who came out there how hard we had been working.”

At a pep-rally it is just us on the floor, but at UIL we’re up against hundreds of different teams.”

— Jordan Smith, 12

The team competed in the 4A division of the competition, allowing for only 20 of the 28 cheerleaders to compete.

“At a pep-rally it is just us on the floor, but at UIL we’re up against hundreds of different teams,” Smith said. “We had to tryout earlier in the year, and the ones who made the team have been working since then to do our best. We are really good with putting stuff together quickly and working together, so that helped us go against the other teams. We really went out and did do our best, and I am proud I am spending my senior year on this cheer team.”

Junior Grayson Prather said the competition is comparable to cheering at pep-rallies and football games.

It definitely takes a lot of time and effort,” Prather said. “We work hard to come up with the pep-rallies and perform for them. Everything is meticulous, and we are athletes, but we also have to look good when we perform. So, also coming up with a good routine for competition added to that and showed us all our hard work paid off. It was overwhelming, but also super exciting, and I think it revealed we are capable of doing great things.”

We are athletes, but we also have to look good when we perform.

— Grayson Prather, 11

Prather said she looks forward to working with a dedicated and hard-working team next year.

“We got these score sheets saying what we need to work on, and for next year we need to incorporate more things to involve the crowd,” Prather said. “And that’s something we want to do at games as well. You know, get the student section more involved; get the fans more involved. We have the skills, but we need all the little things to really perfect our game.”