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Bring it on: white station cheer edition

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 WSHS cheer team at the UCA competition in Southaven

WSHS cheer team at the UCA competition in Southaven

Chad Holland

Chad Holland

WSHS cheer team at the UCA competition in Southaven

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“Are! You! Proud to be a Spartan?” the cheerleaders chant as they lead the school to cheer on the Spartan football players.  Then, the team scores a touchdown and the cheerleaders erupt into their famous fight song routine. The White Station cheer team is known for its showmanship on the football sideline; however, many students are not aware of the other elements of the team.

Until last year, White Station only had one cheer team. Yet, after lots of confusion on which girls wanted to attend cheer competitions and which girls simply wanted to cheer for the sport games, the school decided to make two teams. Now, there are both a football and a basketball cheer team.  While both teams still cheer for their respective sports, the football cheer team also participates in competitions.  

One difference between cheering at games and cheering for competitions is the amount of pressure the cheerleaders feel.

“Cheering for football games is less stressful because you don’t have to worry about hitting stuff perfectly or placing,” Rachel Thomas (10) said. “It also is different because there isn’t a routine or any very hard stunts.”

Another difference is the audience they are cheering for.

“At the [football] games, it’s more about cheering for the boys instead of trying to show off our skills,” Taylor Jones (11) said. “But at competitions, we’re there to show off our capabilities, our strengths and our stunts.”

The competitive cheer team, captained by Abby Holland (12) and Candace Vester (12), practices about two to three times a week. The summer and early weeks of school are spent practicing football cheers, while the rest of the season is devoted to focusing on the competition routine. The girls’ hard work has paid off, winning them second place in the regional competition and seventh place in the state. The team considered attending Nationals in Orlando, Fla., but due to the high cost, will most likely wait for next year. In order to prepare for next year’s Nationals, the team needs to make small improvements in their routine.

“We need to get our stunts a lot stronger,” cheer sponsor and Algebra I teacher Kelci Pearce said. “That’s the part where we always score lowest.”

Pearce and head coach Katrina Moore both play a big part in the girls’ success as a team, as well as their individual growth.

“Our coaches are one of our biggest motivators,” Thomas said. “They not only help us with our routines, but they help us to grow as people.”

While the cheer coaches play a vital role to the team’s success, the girls also look to leadership from their seven seniors, all of whom will miss and be missed by their teammates.

“[Cheer] takes up so much of your time that it’s, like, your life,” Holland said. “So I’m going to miss having a friendship with all of these 21 different girls.”

Vester also imparts words of advice to the cheerleaders she is leaving behind.

“Keep cheering and keep being a close family,” Vester said. “I would want them to be able to make the most memories they can and just have fun.”

Although the football cheer team is done showcasing their talents on the football sideline and competition floor this year, you can watch the cheerleaders perform one last time during their December showcase.

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Bring it on: white station cheer edition