Competitive cheerleaders soar into state competition, fall into fourth



The cheerleading team preps for the opening jump sequence at the Jan. 26 regional competition at Coral Springs High School.

After weeks of practice, multiple injuries and substitutions, the competitive cheerleading team traveled to Coral Springs High School on Jan. 26 to compete at regionals. They placed 2nd at regionals, hitting all of their stunts and not sustaining any injuries during the competition. Their performance advanced them to the state competition in Gainesville on Feb. 4, where they finished a disappointing 4th place.                         

“I was definitely nervous [before regionals] because the school has won regionals for the past four years, so there [was] a lot of pressure from everyone, especially because this team is really new with new freshmen and sophomores, but thankfully the practice before regionals was great,” freshman Kacey Lopez said.  

Lopez is a flyer, which is the person that gets thrown in air during the stunts. Her biggest struggle is standing on her opposite leg. The flyers are supposed to stand on their right leg but in the routine, they have to stand on their left, so for Lopez, relying on her opposite leg was difficult. Another challenge Lopez faced was falling because when a person falls or doesn’t get caught by the base, it’s harder to keep going since they become discouraged.

“It was really stressful throughout the season; we had a lot of people sick or just quitting, so everytime we had a new person come in, it was very stressful, especially if she was a base because we have to change the whole routine and the bases really have to click. We have to work together, so it’s not like you can just grab someone and place them here; it has to work,” freshman base Ashley Moore said.

During the season, many switches were made since some girls got sick and others quit, which made the road to regionals even more challenging. After junior Andrea Rojas fell ill, they had to switch her with junior Mackenzie Cox, which resulted in alterations to the routine. However, after a short hiatus, Rojas was able to come back the day before regionals. It was hard at first, but she was able to start right back where she left off.

“I have been going to regionals since freshman year and I can say that this year was harder than those in the past. I’m the main base and my biggest challenge is keeping my stamina up because we are yelling and picking people up, so I need to breathe, but as a team we need more confidence. It messes us up when we lack the confidence during the routine,” senior Sydney Spencer said.

The opening stunt was the most challenging for the team because they did a “full up,” which is where the flyers spin going up. Spencer was most worried about the first stunt because that particular move required full confidence to pull off.

“This was my first year competing for the school. I usually cheer for basketball, so it is a very different environment. Our school is categorized as an extra large team, so there are 22 people on it. We have had injuries and sickness, so we have had a lot of new girls join, but I feel like we have progressed [significantly],” junior Kara Featherston said.

Even though the team did not place where they wanted, they learned how to overcome obstacles and be flexible with team turnover.

“I feel like all of these challenges that we have faced this season will really help us improve and do much better the next season,” junior Kara Featherston said.