Competition cheer team takes Jefferson title
At the beginning of the season, coaches and members of Louisa’s competition cheerleading squad created the motivational motto “Strive for Five.” The meaning behind the mantra was that if Louisa did well in a combination of invitational, district, conference and regional competitions, they would qualify for the state tournament, which would then be the team’s fifth competition of the year.
The Lions competition cheer team consists of Jordan Chapman, Tiffany Jenkins, Madi Fox, Sarah Schick, Courtney Rustick, Kati Salmon, Jessie Chesley, Olivia Schneider, Marissa Sperry, Isabelle O’Meara, Morgan Smith, Victoria Zummo, Kayla Leatherman, Jakelinn Harris, Madison Smith, Ashleigh Davis, Kaitlyn Fox, Kayla Chapman, Carlee Berry, Morgan Noland, Kayla Holland, Molly Sykes and Taylor Schweikart.
After their performance in the Jefferson District competition on Tuesday, Oct. 10 at Monticello High School, Louisa’s drive is alive.
The Lions dominated the field with a first-place score of 173.5, well above the scores of runner-ups Fluvanna and Powhatan, who scored 143 and 139, respectively.
“Our girls had a lot of confidence going into this competition,” head coach Connie Meeks said. “It’s always fun going to compete against a lot of the top teams in our district. We always seem to have a lot more energy coming into districts, which keeps the team going through the rest of the season. They were ready for this. I couldn’t be prouder of the way they performed.”
Graded in a variety of areas such as tumbling, motions and dance, the Lions used a vast array of tricky transitions and towering formations to impress the field of judges.
For Meeks, the performance was the culmination of months of progress. At the season’s onset, Meeks said that few of the girls on the team were able to tumble, but through the steady leadership of veterans, such as captains Jordan Chapman and Sarah Schick, a majority of the squad can now perform some of the sport’s most difficult disciplines.
“We’ve really improved in every aspect of cheer, whether it’s sideline or competition,” Meeks said. “The girls have always been driven to want to excel in all parts of the sport.”
Meeks pointed out that more than half of Louisa’s competitive cheerleading squad also participates on the school’s sideline cheer team.
Though similar, sideline cheerleading involves more crowd interaction while competitive cheerleading focuses on technique. Meeks said that the versatility her cheerleaders developed by engaging in both aspects of the sport was critical
“They love to win,” Meeks said. “That’s what drives them. They love being winners and the feeling it brings.”
The squad’s practice schedule is a testament to their dedication to success. The team practices on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays, and members who also participate on the sideline cheer team are also required to practice on Wednesday and Friday.
And while most teams have an indoor practice facility on campus, Louisa’s team has had to hold practices at Mineral Baptist Church. Tack on the fact that the team also works on their endurance by running together over the summer, and it’s hard to argue against the validity of the sport.
To read the entire story see the Oct. 24 edition of The Central Virginian.