February 15, 2017
Filed under Sports
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Every winter season girls try out for competitive cheer, and until this year there was only a varsity team. This year competitive has come back with two teams and fresh new uniforms. But what makes the sport competitive? What makes competitive cheer so stressful and hard?
Competitive cheer at TRHS practices Monday through Friday. JV, or junior varsity, starts practice at three pm and usually ends at 6 p.m. While varsity starts at 3:30 p.m. and typically ends around 5:30. “We usually can learn a routine in a day; it all depends on the round;” said varsity cheerleader Raven Keith. The practices consist of a five to ten minute run, stretches, practicing of the teams rounds, tumbling and stunting (if they mess up, they are to condition and try again) and lastly, they talk about what they will do in their next round.
Competitive has many rules and regulations that are used to judge the “difficulty and execution” of a round. A round cannot exceed its given time. During this time the cheer team must perform at least one chant or cheer, performance/routine. The team must act with spirit and enthusiasm. “You all have to get along. Even when you don’t like each other, you have to pretend you do because when you step on that mat, you are a family,” said senior Lainie White. The squads can get point deductions for little things like timing and stepping off the matt before the round is over. During the competition there are three rounds. The first round is rippling. Rippling is when the team starts with one person who starts with a move and the person next to them does this same exact movement, and it goes down the line in a “rippling effect,” hence the name of the round, rippling. The second round is drills. Each squad during this round does the same exact drill routine. This demonstrates punctuality and sync with the team/squad. The last round is stunts and tumbling. During this last round, the team/squad performs a routine where they do chants, tumbling, and stunts.
Overall, competitive cheerleaders do work hard, and they work long. The team practices daily to perfect a routine that ends in a matter of minutes. “I get a rush of adrenaline when we get out there; I blink, and its over,” said junior Karly Brand. There aren’t any second chances, there aren’t any “do the round when you feel ready.” They get one shot to give it their all, to not mess up, and to shock the judges. For a group of girls who may have nothing in common, to unify as a team perform and be judged as a whole takes a lot of skill and effort. Hats off the TRHS competitive cheer team!