As the crispy fall days get shorter, the pumpkinsare carved, and the cozy sweaters begin to make their wayout of the attic, meanwhile, the Westwood High School varsity cheerleaders are putting in extra hours gearing up for competition. Sunday October 21, the Wolverines will take the mat at Algonquin Regional High School Invitational. The squad will have three minutes to show the judges who they are. The thing about cheerleading is that it doesn’t matter how many times you hit the routine at practice or even how you placed at the last competition - the judges know nothing. In those three minutes you have to show them the pain of that extra split at the end of practice, the exhilaration of the first time you hit your pyramid, and the complete love you feel towards your team members as you glance around the mat. Cheerleading is a sport that takes talent but more importantly it takes technique. These next few weeks as we gear up for competition we will be practicing non-stop. Everyday we will be tweaking and repeating over and over again, ripping apart the routine and putting it back together again like a puzzle, pushing until it fits perfectly. As a team we can only go up from here. This year we’ve surpassed all expectations, eagerly pushing forward and never satisfied. We’ve gained skills that were previousl yunthinkable including, but not limited to, almost full team backhandsprings! Tracie says, “For me this will be my last time taking the mat. 12 years of cheerleading and I’ve never felt so much hope and pride. Since August we’ve been honing our skills, learning new stunts, and sweating our way through extra conditions.We’re striving for perfection - a clean routine that’s eye catching. Personally, I’ve learned what it means to be a leader and arole model and most importantly I’ve learned about a family that I can always count on. I cannot imagine a better group to leave my final mark on the cheer world with. I have high hopes for this team and this season and I can’t wait to see what we accomplish.”
As a team we have become very close through Saturday morning practices, fundraising events, and cheer camp. (You learn a lot about a person on a six-hour bus ride). Cheerleading involves trust - when a girl is tossed into the air it’s important for her to know that the people on the bottom are going to catch her. The principles of cheerleading defy logic forcing girls to rely heavily on her teammates for support - physically and mentally. The team mentality cuts to the bone of what it feels like to be on this squad. Each girl looks out for one another, a family to its core. As captains, we have the job of supporting the girls as we finish our final changes on the routine, pushing each other to the limit in order to give it our best on the mat. We expect to “wow the crowd” with all the progress we have made. Meghan says, “Looking back at my four-year-old self, a mascot for pop Warner, I never thought I would cheer for thirteen more years. Each year, I’ve grown, moving up a level and eventually completely graduating from the Pop Warner program. My four-year-old self didn’t have the drive that I do now, I never thought I would be where I am now. Thanks in part to my coach, Heather [Brown]; I’ve pushed myself to success, learning new skills along the way. I have gotten more confidence in myself as a flyer and as a leader. As a team we have come so far, since my freshmen year. The skills that we have achieved together is outstanding, as much as I don’t want this to be my last year it is probably the best year to end on. The girls have made my season amazing so far, from cheer camp, practices and Friday night games I only expect better from here once we get to competition. “As season continues, so will our success. The fundamentals we laid out in the first half of the season will allow us to improve even more. From here practices will get even harder, and the reward will get even greater as the momentum builds so does our excitement. We countdown the days till we hit the mat and when those three minutes arrive we hope to feel your support!
We invite you all to come support us Saturday, October 27 at Ashland HS for the Tri-Valley League Championships!