Cheer On!

Cheer team makes push for second straight state title


Photo by Koen Schill

The cheer team performs a chant at a home football game.

Pom-poms, chants, dances- these are just a few words that come to mind when you hear the word cheerleaders. The sideline entertainment of countless sporting events, cheerleading often faces scrutiny and even mockery from high school students who contend against the notion of it being its own sport. However, there’s more than what meets the eye in cheer.

“It’s definitely a lot different from sideline cheering,” senior cheer captain Samantha Weaston said, “which is why I would call the competitive aspect of it a sport, while not as much the sideline part.”

Every year, the school’s cheerleaders travel to Ft. Worth to compete in the 2021 Conference 6A-D1UIL State Spirit Championship. A rigorous, three minute performance full of acrobatics, dances, and throws is demanded of each team. Last year, the Spartans took home the prestigious State Championship. Following their victory, the cheer team was recognized as one of five cheer squads nationwide honored by Varsity TV in the 2020 Cheerleaders Choice: School Spirit Spotlight competition.

“First off you go into prelims. That includes a total of fifty or sixty teams,” Weaston said. “Then only twenty go to finals, which is day two.”

The victory was no small feat. It marked the first cheer state championship in the history of the school and only the third state victory among all SLHS sports.

“We put so much work and effort into one routine, and it’s only for three minutes. But at the same time we’re competing against like sixty other teams just at state,” Weaston said.

The cheerleaders are confident in their chance to repeat as victors. After losing eight varsity members to graduation, the team is reloaded with young talent ready to prove themselves.

“I feel we all want the same thing, even though I wasn’t on the team last year,” senior Reagan Garvin said, “But we’re all going for the two-peat, I suppose you could say.”

Competitive cheer is difficult enough in its own right. Throwing girls into the air and completing difficult flips requires an immense level of balance, strength, and technique. On top of that, cheerleaders have to practice a multitude of chants used to fire up the student section at sporting events. 

“Starting at the beginning of the school year we take two days out of the week, Tuesdays and Thursdays, starting from the beginning of school, and then beginning October four days a week, we spend just practicing that three minute routine, hitting it hard and just doing each section each day,” Weaston said.

Case in point- competitive cheerleading is no joke. And this upcoming January, these loud and proud Spartans are ready to make a loud splash at State.