Leila Dycus Staff Writer
This year’s Morgan County Middle School cheerleading squad has set high expectations of themselves. This week, their coaches spoke about their goals and are sending a bit of encouragement to the team they have the pleasure of coaching. The first cheerleading competition of the season will be held at –Morgan County High School on September 13.
“I am looking forward to watching the girls’ natural talent and enthusiasm shine through, whether it’s on the sidelines, on the basketball court, or competition mats,” said Morgan County Middle School Head Cheerleading Coach Betty Webb. Two different sets of Morgan County Middle School (MCMS) cheerleaders make for two very different sets of goals.
What draws them together is their love of the sport and the work they are putting into their practices. The cheerleading squads are divided into two sets- competition and spirit. The spirit girls are working to prepare for the upcoming football season. These girls will perform on the sidelines and during half time to get the crowd pumped up about their beloved Bulldogs. The spirit girl’s season will not end after the last touchdown is scored. They will go on to cheer during basketball games.
Currently, the MCMS spirit cheerleaders are practicing two days a week. During their practices the girls are working on ways to incorporate team stunts, cheers and chants into their half time routines. “Spirit team’s goals would be getting jumps higher, motions tighter, be more flexible, stunts and routines cleaner, and for the team as a whole to have unity,” said MCMS Community Cheer Coach Lisa Bowles.
The competition team is practicing five days a week after school. On Tuesdays, after their regular practice, the competition girls are taking part in a tumbling class, which is led by the recreation department. This class hones in on the girls tumbling skills. Tumbling classes are important as the girls prepare for the fast approaching season.
During these classes they will work on cartwheels, back handsprings, round offs and tucks that will better enhance their routine. On Fridays, the team will be work with a professional choreographer for dancing and competition stunt groups. A large part of the competition team’s routine is dancing and stunts. The girls have been working hard this summer to learn their routine and now they are working to perfect it.
The goal of this year’s competition team is to bring home trophies from around the state. “All the cheerleaders are dedicated to making this the best cheer year ever,” said Webb. “They must maintain high academic, behavioral and team standards to participate as a MCMS cheerleader.” This year’s team is a mix of sixth, seventh and eighth graders who all love the sport. Bowles said that she is excited to see the girls grow and fall more in love with the sport.
For many of the girls this is the first time they have ever cheered. One of the team’s eighth graders said that they are “one Morgan, one team, one big happy family.” The coaches are focused on teaching the girls that this sport takes practice. They want them to not just practice until they get it right but to practice until they can’t get it wrong.
This team is filled with girls that are all different but they have great sportsmanship, they are hard workers, they are encouraging and cooperative and most of all they are respectful. Beyond practicing hard the coaches expect the girls to showcase their one Morgan attitude where they go. Cheerleading doesn’t end when they leave the athletic event or competition the girls are known around town as being leaders.
After winning trophies at Fellowship of the Christian Athlete Camp the girls have set high expectations of themselves. They are determined to work hard and bring home the trophies. “My encouraging words to each and every one on the team would be- endure, persevere, and keep the end in mind,” said Webb. Cheerleading is a sport.
These girls are athletes that must practice and condition to be the best they can be. Coach Bowles said that she wants the girls to never give up and when they fail they can always get back up and try again. She said life is full of mistakes, we all make them and not one of us is perfect.