Heritage’s Varsity Cheer team had their first competition of the season!

Alyssa Harclerode, Staff Writer

What do you think of when you hear the word, “Cheerleader?”  Do you think of someone who wears a bow, waves pom poms in the air while screaming at the top of their lungs, and does a bunch of stunts or flips in the air?  Or do you think of an athlete who works long hours each day on perfecting complicated stunts, someone who’s constantly testing their mental and physical boundaries, and overall someone who trains to become stronger as an individual? Personally, I view cheerleaders as confident, strong, hard-working individuals with a talent some find hard to acquire.  Our Varsity Cheerleaders are just that and more! 


Recently Heritage’s Varsity Cheerleaders had their first competition of the season on September 25 at Park View High School.  The day of the competition, I got the opportunity to interview some of the Varsity Cheerleaders on their thoughts, expectations, and hopes for the night’s event.  When asked about his feelings towards the competition, Dominic, the main base on the cheer team and one of the two male cheerleaders on the team, replied, “I am really excited for tonight! We (the cheer team) have been working really hard and I have complete faith that we’ll hit all of our stunts.”  Dominic also mentioned that he is part of Heritage’s wrestling team and that some of his teammates were coming out to Park View High School to cheer him on. Just like Dominic, many other cheerleaders on the team were very confident in their teammates and spoke of the long hours spent each day working on their technique and performances. 


I also got the chance to interview one of the team’s cheer captains and talented flyers, Mimi Groves.  This is Mimi’s first competition as captain. She talked about some of her feelings and hopes for the competition along with what it means to her to be captain.  “I have mixed emotions about tonight. I am very excited, but also a tad bit anxious. I think overall the team is prepared for tonight. The team and I have been working really hard and I strongly believe that we will do great! I just really hope that we can put our nerves aside and push through” says Mimi. She also mentioned her view on being captain, “I have always wanted to be captain and I am so excited I got the opportunity to take the position this year.  As captain you need to be confident in not only yourself, but others. A captain is someone who is constantly trying to help others on the team in any way they can. A captain also models leadership.” 

Courtesy of Olivia Gaskins
Photo of Heritage’s Varsity Cheer team


A few days later I interviewed the Varsity Cheer coach, Sienna Culp, on the results of the competition and got an inside scoop of her thoughts on the event.  Coach Culp explained to me that there were two divisions. In their division they unfortunately placed last, but placed 9th out of 14 overall. “The competition was fierce, but I honestly thought the team should’ve been placed higher than what they received. They did hit all of their stunts and had sharp movements throughout most of the performance, but near the end of the performance they started to lose their confidence and spirit due to nerves.  I think that nerves had a huge role in affecting the performance. I didn’t know what to expect for this competition, but with half of the cheer team being new to not only cheer, but the competition itself, nerves didn’t come to me as a surprise,” says Coach Culp when asked about why she thought they placed so low. 


Obviously, the team didn’t do as well as they had hoped, but Coach Culp plans on using this competition as a learning experience.  “There is always room for improvement. As coach I control the level of difficulty in the routines. This competition helped me to see areas that we need to work on as a team.  I am really proud of the team and hope that now that they have performed and know what the competitions are like, they won’t be as nervous next time. All I can do now as couch is work on the routines and tweek areas that need to be improved,”  said Coach Culp.

I am very glad I got the chance to write about and find out the thoughts, hopes, and expectations of some of the Varsity Cheerleaders and the Varsity Cheer coach before, as well as after, their first competition this season.  I congratulated everyone on the cheer team on their hard work and determination that have led up to this point. The cheer team will continue to strive for perfection and improve their skills. I can’t wait to see the results of the next competition!