BHSS cheerleaders prepare to hit the mat at Nationals

Quinley Bowden, Staff writer

The cheerleading Panthers are back on the prowl. UCA High School Cheerleading Nationals are coming up soon and the Bloomington South cheer team is preparing for the competition by working on the small stuff. 

This season, the team has already competed at the UCA Hoosier Regional competition and more recently, The Battle of the Bows. These competitions help the girls prepare for the biggest high school cheer event of the year: UCA Nationals. Last year, the team made it to finals for the first time in Bloomington South history and placed 11th out of 108 other teams. “I think we’re gonna do just as good or better than last year,” said freshman Eva Hansen.

UCA also hosts College Cheer Nationals as well as High School Nationals. The college competition took place Jan. 13th through the 15th. Each routine was live streamed on the Varsity TV website throughout the three days. There were multiple BHSS Cheer alumni that took the mat on a college team this year, so many South girls watched the live streams to cheer on their former teammates. Junior Audrey Bozarth said, “watching college nationals made me feel better because none of the teams really hit. But even the teams that fell still placed really high so it gives me hope that even if we fall we can still place well and recover nicely.” 

At college Nationals, it was announced that USA Cheer had just been welcomed into the Olympic and Paralympic family, along with USA Cricket, USA Kickboxing, USA Lacrosse, and the United States Muaythai Federation. Many cheerleaders on the South team are excited that the sport is finally being recognized. “We work all year round and so do many other teams and gyms and they don’t get considered a sport. We also don’t have as many restrictions and we don’t get access to athletic trainers,” said senior Macy Gray. 

In high school and college cheer, the most popular types of routines are called game day routines and traditional routines. A game day routine consists of a band dance, cheer, sideline, and the school fight song. In this routine, judges watch specifically for loud voices, spirit, unity, and sharp motions. A traditional routine takes the more all-star cheer route with a custom cheer music mix and a cheer in the middle or beginning of the routine. This routine consists of difficult stunts, tumbling, dance, and pyramids. “My favorite part of cheer is stunting. I definitely try and give everything to stunts,” said sophomore Grace Castillo.

 Last year, south cheer decided to not do a game day routine and place all of their focus on the traditional routine. This year they have decided to take on both routines. Gray said, “I think gameday obviously can only improve from last year since we didn’t do [a game day routine], and traditional can either get even with what we got last year or we could place higher.”

Cheer fans wonder how South’s cheer team compares to North’s. “I think our cheer team executes better in traditional while North executes better in their game day routine,” Bozarth explained. A couple of years ago, North did very well at nationals with their traditional routine, but in recent years they have moved their focus to game day. It’s been hard to say which team is better since each one is usually in a completely different division, but this year North is doing a traditional routine in the same division as South.

The BHSS Cheer showcase is Sunday, Feb. 5 at 1:30 p.m. in the purple gym. The Jackson Creek and Bloomington North cheerleaders will also be showcasing their routines in preparation for Nationals. 

While taking the nationals mat can be nerve wracking, the girls are hopeful and confident that they will do well and hit their routines. Castillo said, ”We’re gonna hit and we’re gonna slay.”