Contributed by Meaghan Cells
For the past few months, the cheer team has been preparing for upcoming cheer competitions, and they could not be more excited. Training for competitive cheerleading is as tough as for any other sport.
The cheerleading team starts practicing early in the year and works hard during the season to perform their greatest routines yet.
According to varsity captain and senior Richard Lee, the team attends three to four invitationals and then goes on to Bay State Conference League, which is one of the biggest competitions, where they then have the opportunity to move on to regionals.
“For invitationals, usually schools host the competitions,” Lee said. “We meet at the high school in the morning, and we get hair done here. Then we perform.”
The cheer team starts practicing during preseason at the end of August. Cheer coach and science teacher Meaghan Cells said this is when students start to develop their skills and learn some cheer sidelines. By the end of preseason, they start working on choreography for competition routines.
“Basically from the start of school we’re focusing primarily on getting our competition routine ready,” Cells said. “So practicing the skills that are in it and making sure we can do it, not just with the counts but also with music. So the majority of our practice time is dedicated to our competition routine.”
During preparation for competitions, the team looks for hitting a safe routine. Cells believes safety is one of the most important parts of cheerleading. But other than being safe, having a clean routine is also essential, Cells said.
“To be clean is that folks aren’t bumping into each other, all of the motions look sharp, it doesn’t look sloppy or messy,” Cells said.
When rehearsing for competitions, the team runs through the routine to improve their stunts, pyramids, tumbling, jumps, and more. According to Lee, by practicing the routine endlessly, they get to work on their individual resistance.
“We are pushing ourselves, so that if we’re tired at the end of practice from doing it full out and we can do it, then when we’re fresh at a competition we can also actually do it,” Lee said.
According to varsity member senior Sarah Leipman, once competitions begin the team’s goals are to improve upon what they have previously put forward.
“Our main goal is to beat the higher score that we got the first time,” Leipman said. “And so how we do that is when we get the score sheets back there are different categories, so like stunts, tumbling, technique and difficulty. We try to get our technique better so we can get a higher score.”
Students practice three to four times a week, every single week. Varsity member and sophomore Emily Lieberman said it is a lot of hard work, but it is definitely worth it in the long run. Motivation is key and they have goals which they work towards.
“What I do is I think about the competitions and how fun it is and how I want to score well, and I know the rest of our team also does,” said Lieberman. “So that kind of motivates us to keep going, because it’ll be worth it when we do well at competitions.”
Cheerleading is the type of sport that makes it easy to build connections with your teammates and the members of the team are like a family. According to Lieberman, a big part that inspires team unity is the moment right before competition where they do something called breaking.
“We get in a circle,” Lieberman said. “We put our hands in the middle and yell ‘Warrior nation on three. One, two, three, WARRIOR NATION!’”
According to Cells, cheer is very different from any other sport at the high school.
“You have to physically and emotionally trust the people on your team, and if someone’s not there, it’s not like there’s another defensive player who can step in,” Cells said. “We do what we can to have people learn a lot of different roles but everyone really is an important part of the team.”