This past weekend the cheerleaders went to the national competition in Dallas, where a season of practice and hard work landed them fourth place in the small varsity all-girl division.
“It was disappointing because I knew our team was a first-place team,” said senior Emma Bellus.
Freshman Jensen Stregiel agreed with Bellus.
“I have mixed emotions. I’m sad that it’s over but I’m happy I had the experience,” said Stregiel.
Team members expressed that the fourth-place finish was a memorable part of the season.
“I feel good about how we did,” said junior Taylor Rice. “We all tried our hardest and I think that’s what matters. The memories that we all got to share together means more to me than a national title.”
Stregiel will be on the team next year and has already decided she is going to prepare differently for next season by working harder and focusing on making everything perfect. Rice, who will be a senior next year, expressed her excitement for next year’s opportunity.
“Next year I plan to lead my team by being positive all the time, helping the underclassmen if they need it, and making sure everyone is prepared as much as possible.”
Hard work, dedication, and talent can be found on more than just the field. Trade in the pads for a pair of pom-poms and the play call for a cheer and find a whole new breed of athletes: the FC cheerleaders.
The cheerleaders have multiple competitions a season, and one of the biggest of the year is coming up this weekend: regionals.
Coach Ashley Nevin explained how their performance and scores at regionals this weekend determines if they advance to state, and she is hopeful they get another shot at the state title this year.
“Emotions are always high as our competitive season kicks off. My girls have been eager to go back to regionals or state and compete given our second place finish last year. I know my new members are excited to compete wearing that ‘Floyd’ uniform for the first time, but I also know it is bittersweet for my seniors as they approach things as their ‘last time.’ While it is easy to let our nerves creep in as Saturday gets closer, we try and stay calm and positive. We know what we are capable of accomplishing and we have definitely put in the work to reach our goals. Now is the time to get excited,” said Nevin.
With regionals only a few days away, the girls are preparing for the task at hand. Not just physically, but emotionally. The team has to try and put away the nerves and bring out the excitement.
“When regionals begins to get close the overall emotion of our team changes. This is the time when we all
start to pull together and realize how much it means to be the best in the state, and doing it with the girls that are like family to you makes it that much more rewarding,” said junior Karli Archer.
Nevin also feels keeping calm and confident is the best strategy before going on the mat.
“Our strategy for staying calm during stressful competitions is to make sure we are confident and prepared going into the event. We constantly practice turning stress into motivation to reach our goals. My girls are confident in themselves and their teammates so they can overcome any situation with their excitement and eagerness to compete. For us, the competition is no different than what we do at every practice, all year long – it is our two minutes and 30 seconds to show everyone else how great we are and how hard we have worked,” Nevin said.
With regionals leading into state, the stakes are even higher. They must reach a certain score on their performance to qualify.
“We have to do really good at regionals before we even think about state,” said sophomore Emma Bellus.
Losing only two seniors from last year, the returning girls are hoping to take their talent and the incoming freshman to new heights. Nevin said her returning members know what it takes to be successful and they have helped instill that winning attitude in the freshmen.
Freshman Sidney Martin said,”We have practiced a lot leading up to regionals. We are so excited to compete, we all feel like we should already be there. That’s how ready we are.”
With hours of preparation and minds racing to that moment when they hit the mat, the cheerleaders are ready to prove why they deserve the state title. Nevin is confident with her squad and believes in their ability to achieve their goals.
“I want everyone to know how proud I am of ‘my kids’,” Nevin said.“Having gone through the program myself, it brings me great joy to watch 18 young ladies dedicate so much time, effort, and heart to Floyd Central. When they look back on their four years at FC, I know their memories as a cheerleader will stand out and I hope we can remember our 2011-2012 season as state champions.”
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