This year, South Varsity cheer competed at State in the small Co-Ed division. By taking home first place at Regionals over the summer, the team qualified for State competition with a team of 20 and two alternates. With a lot of practice and cleaning of the routine, the cheerleaders were ready to get on the floor and show what they could do.
“State practices are exhausting, stressful, and very emotional,” said Jolie Dunlap, freshman and varsity cheerleader. “We just need to spend more time bonding as a team and everything will get better.”
On Sept. 30, the team kicked off their spirit and confidence with the annual State Sendoff. The drumline led the cheerleaders through the school and out to the buses.
“I think that the team is ready for State, but no one believes that we are,” said Jolie. “Compared to Regionals, we are more flexible and can deal with a lot more.”
Head Coach Christy Davis said that the team was ready for State, but they needed to improve on their confidence.
“If everyone is confident, I really think they can win,” said Davis. “The weaknesses of the team are that they are not confident and that the majority of them are new to cheer and are a young age.”
But the team could not let the challenges get the best of them.
On the morning of Oct. 1, the squad headed for the Hearnes Center in Columbia, Mo. The team entered the practice room for one last run through of their routine at around 5:45 p.m. They stepped on the big floor at around the scheduled competing time, 6:32 p.m., and proved that the cheerleaders deserved a winning score.
“I am really proud of the squad,” said Coach Davis. “They can easily rise above challenges and adapt to change. They are a strong group.”
The awards were at around 7 p.m. and with no penalties and all of their bonus points rewarded, the team was confident that they would win. At the end of the day, their work paid off with third place in the small Co-Ed division.
Though third place was an accomplishment, some cheerleaders were disappointed with the results.
“I honestly think that we deserved better because of how hard we worked,” Jolie said. “The competition was intimidating, but overall we should’ve gotten a better place.”
On Dec. 18, the team will compete at the UCA Competition at Staley High School with many more boys on the team, so they may be put into the Large Co-Ed division.