Never Underestimate the Underdogs

By: Katie Forcade
Take a deep breath. Now exhale. Looking to the left and the right, you catch sight of your teammates smiling, anxious to go on exactly like you are. The coach has wished you good luck. You’ve stretched, run through the routine, and done your Shavazina (a form of yoga). Now you have to go out and remember everything you’ve practiced over the past few weeks. Sounds easy, right?
Try practicing daily after school for a few hours, reworking your tumbling, making sure you hit a stunt perfectly without crashing, getting your time down, and staying together with everyone in your team. Also, remember you have a game on Friday. That means remember the tons of cheers they taught you in August, and make sure you’re in the right uniform and bow.
“You come to practice to get what you need to get done and once you have accomplished that, then you can have fun,” says freshman Amanda Pearson
Tuscarora varsity cheerleaders have been working hard since the first week of August to achieve the goals they’ve accomplished this year. Tryouts started on the 30th of July and ended on the 2nd of August with a bunch of tears, either from happiness or devastation.
Cheerleading tryouts take three days. The first two consist of learning new cheers, motions, and a dance. The girls trying out get to work on tumbling and cheering with different people in stunt groups. The third day is the day of official tryouts. The girls step in front of some judges in groups of four and perform the dance and the cheers. The show the judges their stunting ability, and they show the judges what tumbling skills they have. In order to make varsity, any person trying out must have a certain tumble technique, spirit, motions, and jumps.
The varsity football team has a game every Friday evening at 7, during which the varsity cheerleaders not only encourage the team, but also the fans (like Tusky Terror).
“We prepare for the games early in August and it pretty much stays the same. We need to change the cheers to fit each opponent. When we prepare for competition we try to do the hardest skills possible and then determine what will hit. We adjust the routine as we get better,” Coach Upp, the varsity cheerleading coach says on games and competition. “We have really tried to have cheers that are easy for the crowd to follow. I work with some of the students in Tusky Terror and tell them what we are doing prior to the cheerleaders starting so they can yell with us.”
On September 29th, the varsity cheerleaders won their first competition of the season against Stone Bridge. They won first place. Again on October 2nd, our varsity cheerleaders won first at Dominion High School against Potomac Falls, Dominion, Loudoun County, Briar Woods, Heritage, Loudoun Valley, Park View, and Woodgrove.
The team placed second in the competition at Woodgrove on October 10th, 2012. This has earned them first place for regular season district champs.
“I think they have accomplished a lot. You can really see how much their skill and talent has progressed throughout practices and competitions. I am really proud of them,” says manager Olivia Ambrose, sophomore.
The squad has been practicing every day after school since the beginning of the year. Coach Upp conditions the girls to be stronger and treats them like actual athletes, even though many people with various opinions consider cheerleading an activity, not a sport. “I think cheerleading is a sport because it’s team associated and we’re competing against other teams to win,” junior Caroline Hayden states.
The varsity cheerleaders have come a long way since August, and they should be proud. Pearson even says, “I was very ecstatic and joyful to be given the opportunity to perform and compete with this team.”