An Overview of the SWHS Cheer Season

An Overview of the SWHS Cheer Season

Jillian Thibodeau

As the cheerleading season at South Windsor High School comes to an end, the team has accomplished a lot. Many may not know, but the season occurs in the fall and winter, but they cheer at different games and do different things in both seasons. Let’s start at the beginning of August when the team first came together.

On August 1st through 4th, the team attended cheer camp at Westfield University in Massachusetts. They were a part of the fifteen to twenty teams that went to the camp, and they all stayed overnight in the dorms with other girls on the team. The girls would have to wake up before 7 am each day and worked hard until about 8 pm. All of the teams worked hard and learned cheers, dances, and an instructor helped them create a stunt sequence by the end of the four days at camp. Even though their days were long, they worked hard and still had a great time. Sophomore, Erin Stephens, states that “We had a lot of fun with everyone and it was really good for bonding. We even made friends with people on the other teams.” In addition to camp in August, they continued having practices throughout the month of August as well. However, as September rolled around they were getting ready for their fall season and cheering at football games.

The team’s focus throughout the first part of their whole season was figuring things out. Junior, Melissa Sullivan, mentioned that “[The fall season] consisted of somewhat easy practices. We were still getting into things and figuring out stunt groups.” The practices may have been easier at this time, but the team still worked hard to perform their best at the football games. They worked on building new stunt skills, tumbling, and halftime performances for the games. Throughout this time, a lot of the girls learned new skills. Stephens said that “A few new girls on the team were able to do a roundoff back handspring.” Although they used this time to learn new things, things started to pick up the pace by the end of the fall season and the beginning of the winter season.

While the cheerleading team still cheered for the basketball teams during the winter, they began to prepare for competitions. Their schedule was a lot busier and they had a lot more on their plate. They would have practice three days a week, along with one to two basketball games. Amanda Turley, the team’s coach, picked the competition team and she came up with a routine that she thought would “suit them as a team”. Practices consist of the team working on choreography and hitting skills that they need for competitions. However, their busy schedule of both games and practices doesn’t get in the way of them working hard and getting things done. During games, they would even go behind the bleachers during halftime to practice stunts and just work on things for competition.

While the season isn’t over just yet, the team has participated in four competitions so far and has one more left to compete in next week. Their first competition, the ‘CT Cheerleading Classic’, was on January 19th at Wolcott High School. At this competition, they weren’t informed of what they placed. However, they attended the ‘Windsor Warriors’ competition at Windsor High School on February 9th and placed 3rd. The following week on February 16th, South Windsor got a 3rd place once again at the CCC competition at Glastonbury High School. Finally, the most recent competition that they competed at was last Saturday on February 23rd. It was the ‘New England Cheerleaders Association’ competition that was held at East Haven High School. At this competition, the Bobcats placed 7th out of 11 teams. Additionally, four girls on the team had the opportunity to create a stunt group and compete by themselves as well. The girls were Carlyn Burba, Athena Savvides, Kayla Ryan, and Sullivan. The four girls did well in their performance and got 2nd place. Even though the team as a whole didn’t place 1st this year (so far), they are still very happy with how things have turned out for them. Sullivan says that, “At each competition we give it our all and will always try to hear feedback to improve for future competitions,” adding on to what Sullivan mentioned, Stephens mentions that “No matter what place we get, we know we’ve done a great job and all that matters is that we have fun.”

Overall, during the long cheerleading season, the team has improved a lot and had a lot of fun. Stephens thinks that the team has, “Gained more confidence and is less devastated when something goes wrong. We’ve definitely improved our skills and although we’ve had our ups and downs it is all good in the end.” The team has also learned a lot, from new skills to the way that they perform and practice. Sullivan and the team realized that “To do good, we have to push ourselves and perform like we would at competitions. We also need to stay positive and keep the energy up, which we have improved on immensely.” However, the girls still have one more competition to show the judges and their opponents the talent that they have.

Their States’ Competition will be held on Saturday, March 2nd at the Floyd Little Athletic Center in New Haven. The team still has one more shot to compete for first place, so we can only wish them luck and hope that all their hard work has paid off.