Cheerleaders adapt to change as winter season approaches

While all sports are unique in their rules, players, coaches and many other aspects, they all have one thing in common: committed fans who will shout, yell and cheer to give their team the best chance of success. At Inglemoor, no one cheers louder than the cheer team.

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Cheerleaders adapt to change as winter season approaches

Eli Shafer, Co-Business Manager

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While all sports are unique in their rules, players, coaches and many other aspects, they all have one thing in common: committed fans who will shout, yell and cheer to give their team the best chance of success. At Inglemoor, no one cheers louder than the cheer team.

 

While the cheerleaders stay constant in their undying support for Inglemoor sports, many changes are affecting the team. One of the largest changes is a new head coach Mckenzie Merrill, who helped the team as an assistant coach last year. Merrill’s experience in cheer goes back to her own high school days when she was a cheerleader and volunteered to help coach younger cheerleaders.

Merrill has already started making changes that she believes will benefit the cheer program, including the addition of a stunt clinic to the team’s annual summer cheer camp.

 

“Something new that I brought to the team this year was called a stunt clinic. We always go to cheer camp in the summer, so this year, I reached out to their staff and found out they offer one day camps that are three hours long where a staff member comes just to work with our school,” Merrill said.

 

Merrill said one of the reasons for the stunt clinic was to help the cheerleaders accomplish some of their goals for the new season.

 

“We really wanted to focus on new and creative routines,” Merrill said. “We want to work on different stunts…that we’ve never done before, which involves pushing ourselves a little harder.”

 

Another change that Merrill is incorporating into the new season is a greater sense of family among the cheerleaders.

 

“A goal of mine is that we’re all close. We don’t have to be best friends, but we look out for each other. So far, they’ve all been really great,” Merrill said.

 

Junior cheerleader Olivia Krey said that she also felt the team was closer than they had been in the past.

 

“We’ve definitely made more of an effort to bond together as a team…Last year, we had so many new girls join. I think it was just easy for everybody to get to know each other as they learned,” Krey said.

 

First-year cheerleader Fiona Holdaway said she was surprised at how close everyone feels.

 

“I thought [joining the team] was going to be the scariest thing ever, but actually, everyone’s really nice,” Holdaway said. “It’s a pretty welcoming environment.”

 

Holdaway said the closeness of the cheerleaders is due to the numerous team-bonding events that take place throughout the season.

 

“At camp, we were together in our rooms, and it was really hectic. That’s what I think bonded us together at first. Then, we had team dinners before every football game; we sometimes go get food before practice,” Holdaway said.

 

As the fall sports season comes to an end and winter-season sports like basketball begin, another change is coming to the cheer team.

 

“We’ve got a whole new schedule coming up and with that, we’ve got brand new routines that we’re focusing on,” Merrill said. “We’re trying to keep those routines fresh and different, so I’ve got different groups working on each routine.”

 

New cheers aren’t the only change that follows the team into the winter sports season.

 

“When the boys have their basketball games, [the cheerleaders] will go half and half. Then on big Friday night games and key Saturdays, we will all come together and cheer together,” Merrill said.

 

Holdaway has never cheered for a basketball game before; she said she’s both excited and nervous for what is to come.

 

“It’s a smaller group, so more people are paying attention to each individual person, but I feel like the environment’s still going to be supportive and fun,” Holdaway said.

 

At the end of the day, both girls said they believe Merrill is doing a good job in her first season as the head coach.

 

“I feel like she’s honestly doing really well, and I think it’s great because she’s super nice,” Krey

said. “She’s learning with the team, so it feels like she’s more part of the team than just a coach.”

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