In this unprecedented time, all athletes are thankful that they have the opportunity to compete – including the Bellefonte Area High School Competitive Cheer team. On Saturday March 13, the team competed in the District 6 competition. This competition gave the team an opportunity to show off all the hard work they have put into the sport throughout this season.
“We prepared for competition for several months, that’s including our UCA game day competition routine and our District 6 competition routine. We prepare by breaking down dances, cheers, and stunts, practicing and perfecting them up until competition day,” senior Gracie Cain said.
However, the COVID-19 pandemic obviously presents a huge obstacle for every single team competing in any sport. The cheer team worked extremely hard to adapt and overcome.
“COVID definitely changed things for the cheer squad all year. It’s been hard having girls get contact traced and quarantined out of the blue when we’re trying to get a routine down. But, thankfully, we’ve all stayed pretty healthy and we exceeded expectations this year,” Gracie said.
The Coronavirus guidelines and protocol is extremely strict within athletics. It calls to follow strict masking policy, as well as social distancing guidelines, which presents issues for the cheer team when it comes to competing.
“Not having fans to engage with us was extremely difficult. It was also super hard with masks because facial expressions are something you get judged on,” junior Sophie Reiter said.
However, one thing that remains normal throughout all the new changes – senior leadership.
“The captains have always shown strong leadership when at cheer because they excel so much at the sport and have a lot to teach the lower grades and everyone. And, I think I speak for all the seniors when I say that our team has a really positive vibe and atmosphere, especially this year. And, juniors, sophomores, and freshmen, step up a lot to help everyone out at practice,” Gracie said.
The seniors made a special effort this year to really connect with the underclassmen, and bond the team as a whole.
“We try to cheer on others on our team and get to know the underclassmen along with team bonding and playing fun games. We have a lot of fun team bonding by playing games, singing, and dancing together,” said senior Kasie Miller.
Overall, the team is extremely thankful for the opportunity they had to compete. They are extremely proud of their performance, and for the memories they made along the way.
“My favorite memory would have to be when our coach, Skip, had us write down our biggest fear about our competition on a sticky note and we destroyed them all outside. It really just gave perspective on how insignificant our fears are in comparison to the bigger picture and the goal we had of all performing to the best of our abilities when the time came,” Gracie said.