Ten tried out for the senior high squad and all 10 were selected to be part of the team, having met the 80 percent score requirement. These 10 include Aiyanna Crawford, Camry Stewart, Chasitee’ Newton, Rheyshaunna Stewart, Martecia Walton, Alexis Underwood, Olivia Coulter, Precious Johnson, Dasai Esters and mascot Ashley Green.
Fifteen tried out in the junior high division and 11 spots were filled. Members include Ariah Scoggins, Shania Muldrew, N’ Kyia Randle, Ridley Plant, Ashia Dudley, Cydney Herberts, Diana Garcia, Haven Reed, Mya Ragland, Chi’ree Newton and Princess Thomas.
Laura Reeves, one of three cheer sponsors, noted that the tryouts this year were “very intense” as compared to ones in the past, but she felt the girls were “very enthusiastic” overall.
Newton, who has taken part in the sport for five years, testified to the intensity of this year’s tryouts.
“At first it seemed like it was going to be easy because it’s something I’m used to doing,” she explained. “When I got out there, I realized how serious the judges were and how different it was from last year and I knew I needed to be more serious and bring my A-game because it wasn’t a joke.”
For tryouts, the girls’ were required to learn a group dance, a group cheer as well as individual cheers and two jumps. Because many on the senior high team had taken part in cheer upwards of four years, they took on the responsibility of helping to teach the junior high. They practiced together for a week with many doing additional practices individually in their own spare time.
“I practiced here and when I went home and pretty much everywhere,” R. Stewart said.
“The day of tryouts I stretched and practiced jumps and went over my cheers trying to get them as accurate as I could because I knew for the judges I had to be perfect,” C. Stewart said. “Before that, I practiced at home when I got off work.”
This was Crawford’s very first year to even try out to be a cheerleader. She took advantage of the group practices and worked diligently on her own with the help of a cheer video made by one of her fellow team mates.
“I wanted to be a cheerleader this year because it’s my last year in school and I wanted to do everything,” Crawford said. “For me, the jumps were most difficult. It’s exciting that I made it, but I was nervous when I tried out. I was shocked when I made it, and I’m happy I did. I’m looking forward to cheering on the Hornets on Friday nights.”
Reeves said that she and senior high sponsor Toyia Pilgreen have big plans for the cheer teams and look forward to doing some things different.
“We haven’t done camp in a long time so we hope to this summer so we can learn some new dances and cheer,” she stated. “I would also like for them to get more involved with the football team. When I was in high school, I was a cheerleader and we worked very closely with them to really provide support.”
Over the summer, Reeves said the girls plan to meet twice a week and spend at least one week at camp. She noted that she will continue to rely on the help of the older, more experienced group to teach the junior high cheerleaders, who will be having to “start from scratch.”
“What I’m looking forward to most is going to camps to learn how to do flips and jumps and new cheers different from the ones we learned before,” Newton enthused.