The stunt of the decade: cheer competition

Emma Decasa, Editorial Board Member

It’s been fifteen years, but cheer competition is back and better than ever.  

The last time that Liberty’s cheer team competed was in 2007. Since then, they’ve only cheered for school and sideline events, but this coming January, they will compete once again with a hand-selected competition team of twenty-two girls. 

“I wanted the girls to have competition experience, but we’ve always been told to focus more on school participation and spirit,” Liberty cheer coach Camille Wright said. “But when I approached the athletic director again this year, she allowed us to compete because other schools in our district had competing cheer teams. So, I held tryouts to form a separate team that participates in both regular practices and competition practices.”

For the senior cheerleaders, their hopes to compete at Liberty have come to fruition just in time for their final cheer season. 

“Competition in Liberty’s cheer program has always been a thing of fiction since I’ve been here,” senior cheerleader and captain Ryan Croasdell said. “We’ve always been told we ‘aren’t a competition team,’ so getting the okay to compete this year was the opportunity of a lifetime.”

As cheer begins this new era of competitive cheering, the team’s schedule has become rigorous, but their dynamic is benefiting from it. 

“This is a good opportunity for us to work together as one team consisting of both junior varsity and varsity,” said junior cheerleader Rian Lautenslager. “We’re all getting a lot closer.” 

With competition, Liberty cheer will finally have a chance to show off their talent and progress with improving different skills.

“We’ll be competing in the large group division in the Game Day category with a rally, fight song, crowd participation cheer, dancing, tumbling, and some stunting,” sophomore cheerleader Ladora Hannebaum said. 

For all of the cheerleaders, this opportunity offers more than a chance to win: it’s a chance to prove their athletic capabilities. 

“We hope to leave the impression that we are fully capable as a spirit squad and competition team. Drill is not the only Liberty performance program that can compete, and we want to show that,” Croasdell said. 

The team is hopeful to return from January’s competition with an impressive placing, but win or lose, they’re changing the future of Liberty cheer. 

“I’m grateful that I’ll be able to compete for the next four years,” freshman cheerleader Neela Ortega said. “And I hope the cheerleaders after us will continue competing years from now.”