Story by Stephen Wise, Picture by Goflashwin
On Saturday the cheerleading team will take the mat for the final time this season, all with the hope of capturing the 5A state championship. In what will be an emotional culmination of victory and nostalgia for the seniors, it will be a moment they will never forget.
“I am excited, a little nervous, and pretty sad because this is my last state competition,” senior Ally Nielsen said.
This weekend’s state competition will not be just any competition for the team, as they are looking to defend their title and repeat as state champions.
“Whenever you win once at state you feel complete and you get a ring, and then you just want another one and another one after that,” freshman Kayla Ward said.
The cheerleading team puts in hours of work each day leading up to state, tirelessly working to make sure that every aspect of each routine is spectacular before they compete it for one final time.
“We practice every single day starting in April for like two and a half hours in the summertime, then we run a mile and do ten stadiums,” senior Elizabeth Manganello said, “that helps us with conditioning and then we get our routine in June and then we just really work on it until competition season starts in October.”
The members of the team seem to be confident about their chances on Saturday, saying that when they put it all together that nobody can stop them. Putting it all together is easier said than done, and they acknowledge that there is room for progress.
“I feel like if we hit everything and do what we are supposed to we will have a very high chance of winning,” sophomore Sarah Ann Easley said. “We will be prepared from practicing a lot and most likely getting yelled at some.”
It takes passion to win championships, and senior Hayden Deprill definitely feels like this team has the drive and motivation to compete well.
“I’m pretty confident and that we will definitely qualify and I definitely think we can win if we can just get our act together,” Hayden said, “I think we’ve actually done really good, this team cares a lot and there’s a lot of heart on the team.”
There are multiple serious contenders for the state championship, with traditional powers like Lexington and Dorman to watch out for. The team is wary of them, but feels like they have what it takes to be better than them.
“Lexington, Dorman, and River Bluff are definitely contenders because they are really really good but if we hit all of our stuff and perform then we will definitely win,” sophomore Jasmine Le said.
This weekend is the final chapter of not only this season for the team, but an entire career of cheerleading for the seniors. This is their last time that they will take the mat as Dutch Fork Silver Foxes, their last chance to add to their run of dominance over the last several seasons. They have delivered time and time again, but this Saturday is for it all.
“I want to win another title since it is my senior year,” Ally said, “I want to go out being the best.”