Cheer makes history at state competition, takes silver

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Cheer makes history at state competition, takes silver

Senior Shae Mater and freshmen Kylie Johnson perform during the crowd leading section in finals.

Senior Shae Mater and freshmen Kylie Johnson perform during the crowd leading section in finals.

Courtesy of Noel Muyco

Senior Shae Mater and freshmen Kylie Johnson perform during the crowd leading section in finals.

Courtesy of Noel Muyco

Courtesy of Noel Muyco

Senior Shae Mater and freshmen Kylie Johnson perform during the crowd leading section in finals.

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Cheer took home second place out of 60 teams this Saturday at the Ft Worth Convention center as they competed in the 5th annual UIL state competition, going home with a final score of 91.20. 

At the competition, teams compete in three categories: fight song, band chant and crowd leading, performing each individually in a preliminary round before advancing to the finals where they perform the three routines together. The girls placed 1st in fight song and band chant and 6th in crowd leading. 

“It felt crazy to medal at the competition,” senior co-captain Olivia Porsch said. “It’s the first time in Lovejoy history for the cheer team to even place in the top 10, so to win two divisions and get second overall was really big for us.”

In the past, the team has never placed in the top ten, let alone earned a medal. With the formation of a UIL state cheer competition in 2016, the cheer team failed to make finals until 2018 and 2019 where they placed 12th and 16th, respectively. 

“It felt like a dream,” senior captain Taylor Dismukes said. “I went into this thinking that we would maybe place in the top ten or not place at all. At the beginning of the year, our coach told us that her goal was top three, and all we could do was laugh.”

While the cheer teams are usually divided amongst freshman, junior varsity and varsity, the competition team is “completely separate” according to Porsch. The team is put together by head coach Shelly Wiggins regardless of grade level. 

“The team wasn’t finally decided until the Saturday before the competition,” Dismukes said. “Our coach, Shelly Wiggins, has final decision on who goes on the floor. It all comes down to who wants it the most and who is the best at their job. It’s not based on the amount of skill they had, but how much they want it for themselves and their team.”

Preparation for the competition went beyond spray tans, manicures and curled hair, as they began practicing in the summer.  

“We came to a couple of choreography practices to get our routines, and after that we had practice once or twice a week leading up to January,” Porsch said. “We watched a lot of videos of our routines from last year and from the teams who did well in the past, so we could compare and see what to work on.” 

For seniors, the competition ended their cheer career on a high despite the fact that it was their last performance on the UIL stage. 

“As a senior it’s bittersweet,” Porsch said. “It feels really good to finish off this was, but there’s that competitive and somewhat addictive nature of cheer that instantly pushed me towards thinking about what we can do better to come back and win, which is hard because the seniors don’t have that opportunity.”