By TYLER PATRICK
For the first time since Cindy Hutsell’s role as varsity cheerleading coach, the team prepares for Nationals. in the Extra large Varsity category.
The competition season began immediately after the football season and marks a completely different atmosphere for the girls. Instead of cheering on a team, the girls now showcase their tumbling, dancing and cheer skills.
The team consists of 13 seniors, which makes up more than half of the team of 24.
“It’s bittersweet [having 13 seniors] and knowing we’re losing all of them. We’re pushed a lot harder towards winning because it’s their last year. We get a lot of leadership and motivation from them at practices,” junior Sarah Berlinsky said.
The team has participated three competitions and have two more before Nationals. According to Hutsell, the best competition was on Oct. 15 for Cheer for a Cure where they placed first. The worst competition was Jan. 3, where the team lost a flyer and had one girl faint.
Last year, the girls won states and plan to do so again this year.
“The biggest thing we want to prove is that we’re not a ‘one hit wonder’; that we win states one year and never do it again. We want to show how hard we work and how dedicated we are to this sport,” Berlinsky said.
Preparing for nationals is something the girls are stepping up their game for.
“We’re preparing for nationals by getting as much experience as we can through our other competitions,” senior Meredith Porter said.
The team also uses its strengths and weaknesses to help them work towards a national championships. According to Berlinsky, some of the team’s strengths include difficult stunts, experience and being precise. The team’s difficult stunts helped to raise scores at recent competitions.
The teams weaknesses come from Hutsell’s recent illnesses and her inability to always be at practice.
“It’s been quite challenging with the teams injuries and illnesses, I’ve had to bring in another girl to help and we’ve had to move people around. But the girls are very resilient and they never give up,” Hutsell said.
The team’s next competition is Jan. 21 at Winter Park High School and Nationals is on Feb. 11, at Walt Disney World.