Cheerleaders shake up new stunts

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ELLIECLAIRE GORDON

The Trinity Prep cheerleaders always have a good time while supporting Saints’ athletics.

ELLIECLAIRE GORDON, STAFF WRITER

Two short years after losing nine seniors, Trinity Prep’s Varsity Cheerleading squad is working hard to rebuild.  From 2009 to 2011, the cheer team consisted of numerous girls with experience.  Since then, head coach Susan Bentley has turned her cheerleaders in a new direction.

“In the past, the girls just wanted to cheer.  This year, they have really worked on knowing when to cheer and how to get the crowd involved… they are some of the hardest working cheerleaders I’ve ever had,” she said.

The “when to cheer” aspect has a learning curve.  The cheerleaders had a football class at the beginning of the year where the senior football players discussed the whole game and the most appropriate times to cheer during games.

Senior and co-captain Sara Demetree learned a lot from the class, and she explained that it especially helped the squad learn of the best times to cheer throughout the games.

Homecoming is by far the busiest time of the year for the cheerleaders.  Unlike other schools, Trinity’s homecoming pep rally is planned and put on completely by the cheerleaders.  Bentley explains the work ethic of her squad, especially during homecoming week.

“The cheerleaders get to Trinity at about 6:15 in the morning and don’t leave until after the game on Friday night,” she said.  “They organize that whole day, including the very anticipated pep rally with the powder-puff dances.  They just try to make sure the school spirit is at its highest, the pep rally runs smoothly, and that people really have the ultimate high school experience during that week.”

Cheerleading entails more than just cheers and dances.  The stunts involve full body strength and organization from each and every girl.  During the summer, the squad works out in the school’s weight room, specifically targeting their core muscles.  They spend the first part of their practices running, whether it is sprints or timed miles.  The cheerleading squad also attends a cheer camp in July where they have to choreograph and perform a dance as a team.  The camp is for many schools’ cheerleading teams, and is held at UCF.  Last summer, and in recent summers before, Trinity’s squad has won the “Banana” award, which is a blow-up banana that is given to the most spirited team at the camp.  They also won the Leadership Award last summer and made the finals for the camp-wide cheer competition.  Cheerleading involves a year round effort, with about a month and half break before tryouts begin in late April.

Demetree has seen the cheerleading team progress since she first joined as a seventh grader.  She has made many lasting friendships with girls in different grades and loves spending time with them.

“I’m an only child so being with the girls is like having sisters,” she said.  “I’ve also gotten close with Mrs. Bentley, and it’s nice to have her room to go to when I don’t feel well or need someone to talk to.  I’m so glad I ended up doing cheer all throughout high school.”

One of the few freshmen on the team, Sarina Kothari, enjoys her second year as a Trinity Prep cheerleader.  She agrees that the best part of the cheerleading squad is spending time with her teammates.

“My favorite part of cheerleading is the dinners before the football game.  We go to one of the girls’ houses, and we all put our phones away and we have dinner together and get ready for the game.  It’s really fun.  Everyone is really down to earth,” she said.

Kothari admits that she was surprised at the amount of skill cheerleading requires.

“All of us cheerleaders have some type of skill and it’s really cool because even though cheer can be really hard, I think that as a team we come together and we support each other,” she said.

The school spirit from the cheerleaders is plentiful.  This year, they began painting signs around the school for other sports besides football.  They also attend cross-country meets, swim meets, bowling matches and more.

“Other sports teams have gotten really excited and they want us at their events, so anytime anybody asks we really make a big effort to go,” Bentley said.

The Varsity Cheerleading team continues to make strides while welcoming new members, new cheers, and new dances to the Trinity Prep cheerleading program.