West Springfield Spartan Cheerleading has won regionals and placed third at states during their competition season after spending months in preparation.
“I felt so good knowing how much we had accomplished throughout this season. Going to states for the second time in a row was so exciting, ” said junior Tony Alvarez.
The cheer team set their goal to compete at states, at the beginning of the season and hyper focused on it throughout practices. Their goal was the motivation the team needed to perform at their highest level.
“Knowing that our team had worked so hard and made it to the state championship was an accomplishment in itself, and we were ready to show the judges what West Springfield cheerleading can do,“ exclaimed sophomore Maddie Orchard.
The state competition is the largest stage that the team will compete on during the season. With the increased size of the audience and level of competition, cheerleaders have multiple emotions running through their heads while simultaneously trying to focus to do their best.
“Competing at states is something different from any other high school cheerleading competition; you feel anxious, nervous, and a little bit scared, but at the end of the day it feels so good to get that far and to put everything out on the mat one last time, “ stated junior Jerry Dallas.
The cheer team had spent hours every day in preparation to try and perfect their technique. They also knew that only the top team from regionals would advance on to the state level, unlike previous years where the top two teams advanced on.
“We’ve had practice every day since February and in the beginning, practices were for about three to three and a half hours every night working hard and learning our routine!” said Dallas. “Like any team that wants to win, practices weren’t easy what’s so ever. You have to walk in and be ready to work hard, push through the tough moments and break a sweat.”
The team also had to maximize their chances of getting the most points from the score sheet along with their skill. In cheerleading, there is a complex scoring system that grades execution, and difficulty. Extra points are given in categories including creativity of the choreography and overall impression.
“Cheerleading is very picky with scoring and it’s a very compact scoring system, so we have to make sure we are hitting everything possible on the score sheet, to win!” said Dallas.
Despite the hours of practice the cheer team has put in, they still faced many challenges brought on through the disrupted season that they needed to overcome.
“As athletes, we came into this season with a new coaching staff and we didn’t know exactly what to expect. At the beginning of the season, our new coach told us that he wanted to bring us to a state championship, and quite frankly none of us thought it could happen!” said Orchard.
Along with new coaching staff, the team also had to deal with the hardships and restrictions brought upon by Covid-19.
“Due to Covid, I was wearing a mask the whole time and although it conditioned my lungs, it was so hard to keep up at first,” stated Alvarez. “Covid also changed what was allowed in our cheer routine.”
Despite the challenges from the season, the West Springfield high school Cheer team pushed through and competed at states, placing in the top three teams.