Twenty-one girls that jump high to flip themselves over, use all their muscles to throw each other in the air, and scream from the bottom of their diaphragm in school spirit. These are the 2017-2018 WRHS cheerleaders. Out of these spirited bunch of girls, ten are leaving. That reduces this large team of twenty-one to a team of eleven. That means ten less girls to throw in the air, ten less girls to flip themselves over, and ten less girls screaming to support the Woodland sports team, as well as each other.
Cheerleaders are the backbone of the school. They are at every football game shaking their poms, watching the game, and fixated at where the ball is every second. These girls go through lessons on how to understand football: knowing offense from defense, the correct lingo, and when/when not to scream. One will also see them cheering at every girls and boys home basketball games. They learn when to say the right cheers, and watch intensively at all times. These girls are highly devoted to their school, as well as their sports teams.
School spirit is a lot more energetic with more cheerleaders. Crowds look forward to Friday night lights with golden poms shaking in the air after every good play.
The scene is going to be different next season with only eleven returning cheerleaders. The hype of being under the lights will be deprived with less support. Because there is no middle school team, it’s hard expect new freshman. Head coach, Chelsea Maza, and assistant coach, Amanda Wiener, must put full faith in recruiting high school students with interest in cheerleading. Their hope is to have anyone and everyone try out. But, they are specifically looking boys. With a boy on the team, they have the chance of advancing and competing at the New England’s competition in Massachusetts; something this team has never seen before. While a boy on the team is preferred, the coaches are offering open arms to anyone interested.
The requirements for the team aren’t unreachable. Little knowledge is welcome, since it is very teachable.
Paige Stewart, senior who just finished her first year of cheer, agrees:
“My first year went better than I thought. I was able to learn how to both fly and base in a short amount of time. I made the competition team my first year of cheering ever,¨ said Stewart, ¨I became friends with so many people I wouldn’t ever imagine; everyone was so helpful and accepting.”
As long as one can provide excessive spirit and abundant pride for Woodland, the team would be grateful for new blood. Coaches are not alone in this wish; returning cheerleaders are also hoping for new recruits, they are helpful and cooperative for any questions or concerns.
Since last season, the team has improved significantly. Amanda Garofalo claimed,
“We are really excited to see new people at tryouts,” said Garofalo, ¨Last season was so much fun and I hope anyone interested will tryout and experience that too.”
This season, the girls placed second at the Mercy High school competition and fourth in the NVL. This team is a force to be reckoned with. Coaches from Wolcott’s cheer team and Oxford’s cheer team told Mazza and Wiener that Woodland is “coming back” and they should be “watched out for”. The new coaches hold high pride from this, and are hoping they can have just as good of a team next season. In order to maintain this momentum, the team requires new cheerleaders.
The information meeting is May 17, and practices start shortly after. They practice twice a week all summer. Before football season, they also partake in UCA camp at Westfield State University. This camp teaches basics and is a lot of fun for the cheerleaders. This brings the team closer together, and makes memories to last a lifetime. The team also does a car wash, bottle and can drive, and clothing drive to fundraise. All of these experiences are great bonding opportunities. Throughout the season, there are a lot of team parties. Between Secret Santas and random pizza parties, by the end of the season everyone on the team is best friends.
“This year was a great success,¨ said Coach Maza¨, and the team is looking to grow and continue the fun. We hope to see returning faces at our information meeting May 17.”
The meeting will be held on Thursday, May 17, in the Woodland Media Center.