Cheer squad implements harder stunts


Senior Sophia Sorial performs a scale during the competition at Crystal Lake Central on Dec. 4. This was the team’s first competitive meet where the team took second place out of three teams. Photo by Rana Khan

A week before the competitive cheer team’s first competition at Crystal Lake Central, senior Madelyn Karis sprained her ankle and two other cheerleaders got concussions, which resulted in alternates having to substitute last minute.

“I feel like it’d be stressful having these [alternates] in,” said Karis. “I can put myself in that place because I had to do similar things last year.”

The lower number of cheerleaders due to sicknesses and injuries affects scoring and format of routines.

There are also fewer team members competing because of the large number of seniors who graduated last year, which makes scoring different since it is done by ratio, head coach Greg Wilhelm said.

“For example, for throwing standing tucks, the only way we’re going to get scored for standing tucks is if the majority of our team is throwing those,” said Wilhelm. “If we were 20 on the floor, we would have to throw at least 11. We kind of take things like that into consideration in all categories.”

Teams are judged at competitions based on technique, difficulty level in theirroutines,while also maintaining showmanship.  

Karis, one of the team captains this year, remains hopeful for the competition season because the skill level of the team’s stunts is very high difficulty. 

“Our strength this year is probably our stunting, but [a weakness] that we still need to improve on is just hitting tumbling more consistently,” Wilhelm said. 

According to Karis, the team always has room to improve with hitting stunts consistently so the team has cleaner routines. 

A regular cheer practice consists of the squad running through its performances while also having fun with each other.

“Our cheer squad is kind of like a huge family,” said Karis.  “And we’re all very comfortable, and we all have [good times] with each other.”

According to Wilhelm, the team is very motivated to go to state this year. 

“We’re excited to see what we can do,” said Wilhelm. “And I think we’re hungry to add more and even with difficulty and the intensity in our routines, because we see that we can compete with those teams that were a little bit more advanced than us in the past.”

The team placed second at the Crystal Lake Central Invitational on Dec. 4.

There is a stigma around competitive cheerleading, junior Ava Nguyen said.

“[Students] only see sideline cheer, but they don’t see all the hard work we put in and how intense it could be,” Nguyen said. 

Glenbrook North is hosting the Central Suburban League South conference invitational, scheduled for Jan. 12.

“I think it’ll be nice for students to see, ‘Oh, this is what the cheerleaders have been working on behind the scenes of sidelines,’” said Karis. “I think it’ll be good to show the school what we’ve been working on.”