The ultimate test: Cheer goes to Nationals

Isabela Gardner, Reporter

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This January, the Cheer world will be turned upside down and put to a new kind of test- nationals.

A lot is different from State and Regionals, the cheer squad are readying themselves for the challenges Nationals will bring.

This competition is completely different then what RayPec Cheer is used to. We have never competed in Nationals before, so this is the first Time in Cheer History. We will have harder competition across the nation and against more teams,” said Head Varsity Coach Megan Speer.

Senior Cheerleader Chloe Alleman believes in the team’s cohesion, but the challenge Nationals brings is none like they have seen before.

“I am confident in our team. Like we are good, but I don’t know if we are good enough to do very well considering there are a lot of amazing teams at nationals that have been there for decades,” said Alleman.

The life of a cheerleader can be hectic during the school year, but the preparations for Nationals has proven to add a little more each week for the girls.

Three practices a week, not including games that we also use as a practice time. This is more than state because state was the beginning of December. We have only had a short amount of time to practice for Nationals,” said Speer.

Although time is not always on their side, the cheer team still sets aside some time to cheer for winter sports.

“We cheer less for winter sports, so we don’t cheer for girls anymore. Which is sad, but we are very busy now with this quick turn around for Nationals,” said Alleman.

Junior Cheerleader Jaylin Lewis reflects on how the competition itself allows every team to showcase their abilities and to be judged on a greater scale than at State competitions.

“I think it’ll be eye opening to actually see how good we are in the nation and see where we would place. I think it will be a fun experience. I think we will come together and stay close after cheer ends,” said Jaylin Lewis.

Nationals is brand new to the Cheer team, and many emotions are taking over as for it is many of the girls first and last time competing.

“Terrifying. Big. Scary. Exciting. I think at the end I will feel sad because it’s all over and cheer will be basically done,” said Alleman.

Sister-like bonds are formed within the team because of the numerous hours the girls spend together over the course of a year.

“We get along. I mean it’s like sisters: we fight sometimes but at the end of the day we’re good,” said Lewis.

Lewis believes the team’s success will be defined by their overall togetherness as a whole.

“I would say our cohesion because we tend to get off task and yelling at each other to focus and get along,” said Lewis.

The cheerleading squad spends a great amount of time together in every season and the work they put in does not go unnoticed by their coach.

“I am so proud of them. There have been a bunch of changes in the cheer world this year. Competitions being moved back because of rule changes, going to nationals, more practices, longer season, harder skills, and just setting a new expectation for what it takes to be a Ray-Pec Cheerleader. They are taking all the changes like a pro and accepting it and willing to grow as cheerleaders and people,” said Speer.

The Cheer squad will be challenged physically and mentally in a less than a week and finally see where they stand across the nation. The Cheer world is changing and the girls are ready to tackle all the obstacles in their way. This competition will be an eye-opener and set the basis for what the girls can expect for years to come.