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Thursday, July 31, 2014

Squad looks for win at state

Monday, November 14, 2005

(Photo)
Cheerleaders work on their routine for state competition at a recent practice.
SIKESTON - As the MSHSAA cheerleading competition approaches, the Sikeston High School cheerleaders hope to bring home another state title as they did in 2003. The squad, which came in a close second last year to Grain Valley, a Kansas City squad, has set their expectations high for the state competition, which will be held at the University of Missouri's Hearnes Center, Nov. 18-19.

"I think that we have a really good chance of winning state this year," Danielle Harper '07 said. "We have good lifts, good cheers, as well as a good dance. As long as we keep working hard, we will have an awesome routine."

"I'd have to say our squad's chance of winning state this year is 99.9 percent which rounds to 100 percent, making my outlook optimistic," said Laura Atchison '08.

Cheerleading sponsors Tricia Keefer, Sarah McGill and Wanda Throop have the same optimism as the squad members.

"Our squad has a great chance to win this year. We ranked second overall in the 4A large division after all the regional competitions held in August throughout the state. We have a very competitive routine. If we are able to hit all our stunts, we will do great!" Keefer said.

"The girls are working on a routine packed with quite a bit of climbing. It is a great routine and the girls are going to do a wonderful job," McGill said.

Practicing to perfect their routine, the team had the national cheerleading champion's coach come work with them on their state routine. New techniques are also playing a big part of the 2005 routine.

"We had a choreographer come, a totally new style of music and some really unique lifts," Tiffany Robison '06 said.

"We have just been working really hard on all of our lifts and cleaning them up. We've watched Grain Valley's routine and have worked hard to make our lifts look better than theirs," Harper said.

The quest for the state championship began a long time before the first day of school, Aug. 18. Summer was packed with conditioning and new stretching techniques to add strength and durability.

"The conditioning has made us a lot stronger as a team, so I would have to say we are more prepared this year," Caroline Nace '08 said.

"The conditioning has allowed for more difficult and creative stunts," Keefer added.

When it comes to preparing for state, junior and senior cheerleaders have helped the sophomores learn the competition rules.

"We've pretty much taught them the rules about state, like not stepping on poms or signs, and not stepping out of the black line," Harper said. "All the sophomores really work hard and I think they understand a lot of it for themselves. But there are times we remind them how close state is to being here," Lindley Duncan '06 said.

Putting in close to 15 hours of practice a week after school and on weekends, the squad has been very committed to working on their routine.

"As competition gets closer, the team will practice more and more," McGill noted.

Still, with only a week left before the team performs the three minute routine, not only are the girls physically preparing themselves, but each girl is also mentally preparing herself for the comptetition.

"The seniors have shared stories and experiences to help the sophomores be mentally ready for state competition," Keefer said.

"I have had the feeling of winning first place and I've also known the feeling of getting second place when only losing by a few points. I drill it in their heads every day that they do not want to have the disappointing feeling of second place when we have the potential of winning first," Robison said