Going for Gold: Cheer Team Heads to Nationals

Competition team seeks another national title

Maddie Mollner, Staff Writer

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“Five, six, seven, eight!” After almost a year of counting through dances and stunts, the Skutt Catholic cheerleaders are anxiously anticipating their departure to Orlando, Florida to compete at nationals. Nationals, hosted by the Universal Cheer Association, or UCA, are attended by over 100 American high school teams, five of which are right here in the Omaha area.

Preparation for nationals began back in July, when the team traveled to UCA camp in Missouri. At that point, the team was testing the waters to see where the team’s stunting ability stood, but they’ve come a long way since then. Since November, the team has buckled down and begun to invest their lives into putting together a stunning and flawless routine. Freshman Niki Cundiff spoke about her biggest excitements for the trip. “I’ve never been on a plane or to Disney before, so I’m really excited to experience this with my team because we’ve come so far this season,” Cundiff said.

The cheer team has definitely had their share of setbacks this season. Four girls have been seriously injured inside and outside of practice, resulting in broken bones and even surgery. With team members seemingly dropping like flies, it was very difficult to put together two routines, like they had planned. Eventually the cheer coaches were forced to make an incredibly difficult decision–to only compete a Game Day routine, which can be compared to what a cheer team would perform at a high school football game. Cheer captain Bethany Meyers commented, “I think the team has come so far and really pulled through. No one expected the injuries. It did hurt the team but we really turned the situation around in only taking one routine.”

A game day routine consists of a cheer, a chant, and a dance. Many difficult stunts that truly show the strength and skill of the whole team were incorporated into this routine. Although these stunts presented challenges at first, especially with so many injured teammates, the cheerleaders of Skutt Catholic have taken control and made them look practically effortless.

Even so, stunts are not the most important part of the routine. Crowd-involvement, facial expressions, and sharpness in hitting motions have a vital impact on a nationals scoresheet. “As a captain I think the work will really need to be done during the performance. A nationals performance is nothing like you’ve ever experienced before,” Meyers stated. With so many stressful stunts to hit and lots of yelling that challenges endurance, team positivity is a must-have. “Team encouragement throughout the routine is so important and sometimes overlooked,” Meyers continued.

No matter the challenges, team members are very confident in their ability to do extremely well in this competition. Cundiff added, “Our routine has many complex skills, so if we sharpen up our motions I think we have a great chance for success.” Meyers also added, “I think we have the potential to do very well at nationals. We just have to grind through these last few practices and really focus on cleaning up the little details.”

The team presented a showcase on Sunday, February 5, in front of family and friends before their departure set for February 8th. They presented their nationals routine as well as their state routine, and much can be said about the amount of effort and energy they put into these performances. Almost every stunt went up without hesitation, and the team was successful in getting the crowd involved. These performances showed viewers how much heart and soul goes into being a Skutt Catholic cheerleader.

Despite a few broken bones and setbacks along the way, the Skutt Catholic cheer team is ready to give it all they’ve got at nationals this year. Be sure to wish the team the best of luck as they represent Skutt Catholic in Orlando. 

Maddie Mollner

Maddie joined The Flightline in January of 2017. She is a senior this year, involved in cheerleading. Outside of school, she reads, collects flamboyant socks and hangs out in parks with her friends. You can email her at [email protected]