Republic’s cheer squad takes the stage for its annual Cheer Showcase Friday night at Republic High School. Just like every other year, it’s the traditional start to competition season for the cheerleaders. This year, though, the season is off to a different start, and will take a different path from previous seasons.
“To start, we only have one team this year,” says head coach Matthew Massey. “This allows me to have an amazing assistant coach, Brittny Rogers, which in turn allows the girls to have two coaches at most events.
“Our regular competition season will not end with state this year. In January, we will be attending NCA Nationals in Dallas, Texas. This is huge for our program. The girls have been preparing for this since they became cheerleaders in middle school. This year is going to be exciting, and we can’t wait to show everyone what we can accomplish–especially since the junior and senior classes are the ones who started the competitive program at the middle school.”
The squad attended an invite-only “Master’s Camp” organized by the Universal Cheerleaders Association this summer. It’s the first time at the camp, which featured top-level instructors and focused more on preparation for competition than previous camps.
Senior Morgan Wojciechowski has been a steady part of the high school program for four years, and says she enjoyed the changes at this year’s camp.
“The camp instructors were tough on us and forced each of us to give it our all and exceed the standards that are set,” she says. “We learned a lot that we can carry throughout our season — but not just skills and new stunts. We learned to work together and push each other.”
Sophomore Raigan Davis says the camp’s focus on stunts and technique will carry over as the season progresses, and the opportunity to compete at nationals has motivated her.
“We worked very hard and improved each day we were there,” Davis says. “It really set the tone for what we need to do to have a solid routine. Ever since I found out we were able to go to nationals I’ve been coming in ready to work. I’m grateful for the opportunity to go to nationals so I try to make the most of every practice.”
Junior Kyra Holt agrees that the opportunity for national competition has increased everyone’s motivation.
“Our drive is bigger than we have had any other year,” she says. “Everyone is pushing for the same goals and we are really working as a team. Positive attitudes and hard work is paying off.”
At the UCA Summer Camp, four Republic cheerleaders earned varsity all-American honors: Caitlyn Sturgis, Kaylin Glenn, Jayden Beverly, and Morgan Wojciechowski. The team also won camp titles in jumps, tumbling, and dance. And Jaydra Phoutone repeated her title as a camp “jump off” winner.
“Everything we do from tryouts until the very last routine we put out on the nationals competition floor matters,” Phoutone says. “We all know that every little thing counts. Every pass, every jump, every stunt, and every stunt saved or recovered leads up to our end result. We’re trying to take home as many wins as we can this year. Morgan, our senior captain, always reminds us that the harder we work now, the easier it will be at a competition and I don’t believe there’s a statement that could relate to this season more.”
Friday’s Cheer Showcase is open to the public. It begins at 7 pm.