Williamsport cheer team first to reach semi-finals in state championship

Recently, the WAHS cheer team competed at the PIAA Competitive Spirit Championships. This was only the third time in Williamsport’s history that a team had qualified for the state competition, and this team is the first to make it to the championship semi-finals.

Students were impressed with the level of competition at the event. The team saw many new elements from other teams that they are considering for their own routines in the future. Junior Nick Stevens said, “People tend to think that cheer is an easy activity. This is probably because they usually see routines performed perfectly. But if we make a mistake or mess up our timing, it is glaringly obvious to the crowd. We spend hours getting the timing of every flip, turn and jump exactly right before we perform for the public. The truth is, getting all of the team members in sync and holding girls up in the air perfectly still for several seconds is physically and mentally tough.”

This level of competition adds to the teams’ nerves. “Being in front of the judges was intense,” Stevens recalled. “We all knew that there wasn’t room for a single mistake.” Stevens felt added pressure as both a spotter and a male on the team. “Seeing all those teams with ten and fifteen males on their squad was really nerve-racking personally for me. I felt that if we failed, I would be to blame because I couldn’t bring the strength the other males could.”

“We worried that we wouldn’t be able to perform our stunts as well as some of the other teams were performing theirs,” explained senior Jasmine Cole.

“Looking back, though, we know that making it to this competition made us work harder as a team to achieve our goals and become closer as whole. We couldn’t have had done it without putting faith in ourselves,” Cole reflected.

Many of the members agree with Cole and felt like making it to this level of competition has been a highlight of their high school experiences. “The most challenging part of this competition was the physical and mental preparation of it all, together as a team and also personally,” recalled senior Jordan Kelley. The team loses seven seniors this year, but the underclassmen are already looking forward to next year. “We lose a lot of talent this year, but of course we would love to make it back to the championships next year,” Stevens said. “And we will work as hard as we can to make that possible.”

This page was created by Billtown Banner students at Williamsport Area High School

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