With the departure of these seniors last year, sideline and competition cheer members havefound themselves stepping up to fill the gap.
Being on sideline cheer requires hard work and dedication. Sideline cheer members begin practicing in June and work throughout sum- mer to be ready for the football season, while also participating in parades and the Hahaione Fun Run, rallying marathon runners and cheering for basketball. “It’s about teamwork, being positive, developing new skills and cre- ating permanent lasting friendships, not only within our cheer squad but also with the band and the football and basketball players,” said Napiewocki.
Competition cheer is a separate team of athletes who perform routines involving ad- vanced tumbling, stunting, building human pyramids, and throwing baskets (throwing an athlete in the air). These cheerleaders compete against other schools from late September to November for trophies and state awards. Competitions center around a one minute and thirty-second routine, with elements such as pyramids, stunts, jumps, dance, running tumbling, and standing tumbling. Stunts are intricate sequences that the team performs to showcase their balance and strength, as well as teamwork. At the same time, cheerleaders have to demonstrate good showmanship and attitude. As a result, competitions can be very stressful. Holly Sinclair, member of the varsity competition team and co-captain of varsity sideline cheer, said, “The seniors did a lot of stunting, took a bulk of the routine, and they were the best. To be in the front now is really scary because it’s something we never had to do before.”
Despite this, the cheerleaders are determined to support their team as much as they can. During practices and performances, cheerleaders encourage each other to keep up the good morale of the team. Called
“mat talk,” cheerleaders use positive commentary to keep each other calm and composed during otherwise stress- ful performances. “We’re there for each other, not the trophy,” Sinclair said.
Napiewocki said that while she has noticed all of the cheerleaders stepping up to support each other this year, several people stick out in particular. “Senior Taylor Ledgerwood has always been that leader, even as a freshman,” she said. “Now, as a senior, everyone relies on her to take the lead, which she does naturally.” Napiewocki also expressed her pride in her JV leaders, saying “Sophomores Marina Clark, Alina Markova and fresh- man Chloe Kinlaw have really stepped up to the plate on the JV team.”
Eui Jin Song / Associate & Editorials Editor
Image Courtesy of Kim Sheree Napiewocki