Flying to state

Cheer team hopes to do well at state, defend national champion title next month


Andrea Plascencia

Junior varsity cheerleader Reyna Torres practices during third period on Wednesday, Jan. 15 for the upcoming competition.

After winning nationals last season, the cheer team is ready to claim its trophy once again. With the state competition taking place on Thursday, Jan. 16 at the Ft. Worth Convention Center, the cheerleaders practice to perfect everything in place. With most of last year’s team graduated, the leftover upperclassmen have worked with the younger cheerleaders to perfect the routine.

“This year’s team is strong in our stunting and motions,” head cheer coach Jill Van Klink said. “We are always working hard to make skills look effortless while using correct technique and uniformity throughout the entire squad.”

As the freshmen improve and surpass expectations, captains senior Caleb Tate and junior Alyssa Rowberry are hopeful for the upcoming competitions. Preparing for last year’s competition was not a simple task, but this year motivating the team to put all hands on deck and putting emphasis on individual skills has been the main focus.

“I [hope they gain] experience in competitions,” Tate said. “Some people are new [or] aren’t as experienced as others, so [by working extremely hard], winning the competition is very doable. I think that would be the highest priority but just being prepared for nationals as well.”

By taking time to help the team earn a high score, the team has high expectations to keep its winning status. Improving the work ethic pushes the team’s determination to be successful in upcoming tournaments.

“The team’s motivation definitely comes from the hardships and rough path we’ve endured this season,” Rowberry said. “We want to take that and use it as determination to win.”

With the effort the team has put in, the cheerleaders are confident they have the ability to win. The one issue the cheerleaders have struggled to manage is being confident in themselves, forcing them to work in order to win the state competition and then nationals beginning Friday, Feb. 7 at Walt Disney World.

“I try to be honest when working with the cheerleaders,” Van Klink said. “I want all my athletes to know I want to make them better. Sometimes they need me to believe in them before they believe they can do something. I push them to make sure we are in shape and learning you can do more than you think.”