Cheer comp season review thus far

The+team+before+they+competed+at+Peachtree+Ridge.

Linsey Mathews, Lanier Competition Head Coach

The team before they competed at Peachtree Ridge.

Competition cheer is a sport rapidly growing in popularity and participation across the United States. In Georgia alone, there are 212 competition teams divided amongst nine divisions that vigorously compete for a state championship title every year. Lanier’s varsity competition team competes in the 6A division in region 8, which consists of Buford High School and Habersham Central. Each varsity team is allowed to compete at six competitions a season, not including regional or state competitions. So far, this season, Lanier has participated in four competitions: the first showcasing of their routine was at Dacula High School, and from there they competed at Buford and Peachtree Ridge. The girls hosted their fourth and most recent competition here at Lanier; therefore, they did not compete to place, but only for exhibition. At this point in the season, with only one more regular competition to go, Lanier should have five competitions under their belt, but they were forced to pull out of the “Bulldog Classic” earlier in the season due to several injuries.

As stated, Lanier’s first competition was at Dacula High School. It was a stressful and uncertain beginning to the season since Jaiden Cornista, senior, endured a dangerous knee injury the week before the team was supposed to take the mat. As a result of the last minute injury, the varsity head coach, Linsey Mathews, made the crucial decision to pull sophomore, Lilly Hester, up from JV. Despite widespread doubt, Lilly executed Jaiden’s part beyond expectation and helped Lanier secure the first place trophy. Not only was this competition the first of the season, but it was also the first varsity experience for all of the freshmen on the team.

When flyer, Kaitlyn Youmans, was asked for her thoughts on her high school competition debut, she spoke with maturity, “I think that it proved to the entire team what we are worth and that we shouldn’t give up when things get tough.” Although the trip to Dacula began with precarious potential, it ended up instilling a positive momentum for the team to carry into the rest of their season.

Varsity’s second time competing was at Buford, and unfortunately, it came with more injuries: Jaiden was still recovering from her knee injury, Kaitlyn fractured her hand, and junior, Annabelle Reasons, sprained her hamstring. In order to compensate for the number of girls that were injured, Coach Linsey asked the JV flyer, Bailey Davis, to compete with varsity for the competition. Despite a stunt fall and a tumble bust, the girls performed very well. They placed second in their division right behind the four-time region champions, Cambridge High School.

The team had a completely different attitude going into their third competition at Peachtree Ridge. A majority of that positive spirit can be credited to the return of those who had sustained injuries earlier in the season. For Jaiden, it was her first time ever competing at a high school competition, and for Annabelle, it was the first time she had tumbled at a competition all season. Apart from the individual goals that were met, several team goals were also accomplished. First off, the girls got the “homecoming hit” they had been hoping for, and as a result, won first place. Secondly, they earned the highest score in the history of Lanier Cheerleading.

Sophomore, Emilie Vu, responded, “Overall, Peachtree was a solid performance, and I am very proud of the way everyone on the team remained focused and committed to doing their part despite the distractions of Homecoming,” when she was asked to explain why she was proud of the team.

Lanier was the hosting school for the latest competition, so the girls got the opportunity to compete at home. It was only the second competition of the season- in which all members of the team were capable of taking the floor. Similarly to the Buford competition, there was a stunt fall and few tumble busts during their performance, but they were still able to secure second place. Regardless of scoring well, “The Championship at the Ranch” was a very emotional competition because the seven seniors on the team- Lexi Richards, Abby O’rouke, Jaiden Cornista, Cailtin O’keefe, Allie Rowe, Amber Johnson, and Madison Youmans, were recognized for their hard work and dedication to the cheer program.

So far, this season has been a successful run for the girls, and it is only expected to get better as their team dynamic continues to develop. We wish them luck as they head into their regional competition at Buford on November 14th.