Change To Cheer

cheerleaders during football game (Casey Williams)

Cheerleading has always been a great way to boost school spirit, support the football team, and has also been a favorite to many throughout their middle and high school career. Although the sport has its traditional elements, the Ipswich high school has managed to keep the team going with their fresh and new ideas. 

A major change that the varsity cheerleading team has made this year was the addition of middle schoolers to the squad. Eighth graders were selected to join the game and competition team to add numbers to the group and help give the team a fuller look and sound. Senior captain Brooke Jimenez says,“we had siblings of current cheerleaders join and just opened registration for eighth graders as well, there wasn’t a formal tryout. Our coach decided who would participate at competition based on performance during practice.¨ 

This addition to the team had made a ¨positive¨ change in Brookes eyes,  she mentioned, ¨The eighth graders have more tumbling skills so they’ve scored a lot more points in competition,¨ and she thinks their more respected now because ¨they have a boy on the team for the first time in a while.¨ it’s not only the captains who think the team this year is well developed, eighth grader Connor Dunford has expressed his excitement on being a part of the team. Connor stated, ¨I love being on IHS varsity cheer, especially as a middle school athlete it is so extremely fun.¨

Although the new additions to the team have made many positive impacts, it is not without a few bumps in the road. For instance, Connor Dunford had expressed his opinions about the frequent practices, he revealed that, ¨The longer practices are very much different from any other sport, I remember playing soccer when I was little and it was just practice then a game, over and over. Middle school sports have more than one practice but they aren’t as long and as frequent as high school sports.¨ Although Connor is getting used to the long hours, he recognized that he’s improving a lot more. Even though the practices can be rough he really enjoys it because cheer is his ¨safe place.¨

Another change that the IHSVC team has made was the division between a game team and a competition team. In past years most everybody on the cheer team had to also compete in competitions. The team practices 4 days a week during the season, rehearsing a 2 and a half minute routine including tumbling, dance, jumps, cheers and stunting. Intense physical activity that not everybody is willing to do. The captains and coach recognized the decrease in members signing up each year and decided to make it so some participants of the team only have to go to the games, while others will cheer at both games and competitions. Captain Brooke Jimenez says, ¨Our team looks less sad, and our performance is better when it looks fuller.¨ The new members only have to go to one practice a week, but still must appear at all the games. This offer made the sought out recruits by Brooke much more willing to join the team, and they’ve been very successful throughout the season even as first time cheerleaders. 

This exciting new path that the cheer team has taken is bound to influence years to come. Seeing how the team has already been very successful in previous competitions and has received several impressive remarks, regarding how put together and professional they look this year.  As they head on to Regionals, we all have great hope that this team can bring back a win!