Cheer for the Win

Team moves on despite losing their 2020 competitive season due to COVID-19

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Grace Kut

As kickoff happens, the cheerleaders start the game off by spiriting and pumping up the crowd.

Nadia May, Design Editor

Friday night football games and evening basketball games would seem incomplete without the Nixa High School cheer team doing what they do best: Setting the game scene with cheers to motivate the team for a win. The team lost its competitive season this year due to COVID-19, but was still able to cheer at games.
“COVID has thrown us many obstacles to overcome this season,” Cheer team coach Andrea Breen said. “We are actually one of only a few programs in the area who are having a cheer team this year. Our sanitation procedures before, during, and after practice are extensive, along with rigid temperature and wellness checks. Our team has learned to adapt quickly to anyone being gone.”
Breen has been coaching the cheer team for seven years. To her, the team has worked their hardest this year and she enjoys watching the progress the girls have made through a tough year. The cheerleaders set goals for themselves to enter future competitive seasons with full confidence.
“Our team has a major focus on improving our game day presence,” Breen said. “With no seniors on our team, we are heavily focused on building our skills this year with the hope all team members come back next year so we can hit the competition season hard in the 2021 season.”
Junior Jaklyn Montgomery has been cheering since she was in middle school, and her favorite part of being on the team is building strong relationships with the rest of the girls — a factor she says plays an important role in building the team to do their best.
“Over the course of the season, I strongly believe that this team has grown a lot, through the bonds created on the team, to all the new skills and goals achieved as a team and individually,” Montgomery said.
Although the cheer team lost their competitive season this year due to COVID-19, Montgomery enjoys remembering the competitions the team has gone to in the past seasons.
“Competition days are very long and are great opportunities to meet cheerleaders from many other schools throughout the state while you are waiting to perform,” Montgomery said. “We go through warm-ups, run-through, and safety checks one last time and then we perform. At the end of the day, everyone comes together for the award ceremony before we head home.”
COVID-19 brought in many factors that affected the cheer team, which included many procedures to take before, during and after their practices.
“Before each practice both cheerleaders and coaches are given temperature checks and are required to have face masks,” Montgomery said. “Throughout the practice, everyone’s masks stay up unless we are actively doing physical activity such as stunting, tumbling or working out.”
Freshman Deja Martinez has been cheering for three years and said that despite the complicated year, she is glad the team is able to move forward.
“COVID-19 has affected us a lot because we have to wear masks to practice, so that can get a little hard when we are stunting or doing any other physical activity … but we’re trying to work around it and still get things done,” Martinez said.
Martinez also said that her favorite part of being on the team was how supportive all the girls were to each other in all things in and out of cheer.
“Being on the cheer team is like having a second family,” Martinez said. “If you need someone to talk to, you have like 25 other girls that will always be there for you.”