Underdogs a year ago, Top dogs now

Kirsten Kossler, Campus Editor

Last year took the “L” but this year they bounced back.  After being deemed sixth in the state last year, the Varsity/Competition Cheer Team won the FHSAA Cheerleading State Championship, receiving their first state title in history.  Coach Paige Black and the group of 36 girls, ranging from freshmen to seniors, have now set a prestigious name for our school in the Cheerleading World.  Senior Taylor Cednick said “Never once did I think I’d be a state champion and this year it happened.”  She shared that the hard work from every girl on the team lead them to the big win.

The team’s motto was win in practice so when competition comes, you just have to pick up your award… and that’s exactly what these girls did.  Their season starts in the middle of summer, in which they start preparing for the state championship that is held in late January.  For a long eight months, the girls not only cheer for our boys on the football and basketball team, called their sideline season, but participate in their own competition season.  Senior Emma Padgett thinks the stipulation of “cheer not being a sport” comes from those who only see the cheerleaders on the sideline and not necessarily the work that’s put into competition practices.  During such practices the girls practice a two minute and thirty second routine which involves multiple stunt and tumbling sequences.  Junior Jenna Shuckman said “The hard and nerve racking thing about cheer is that you never know if you’ll hit that day (hit means there was no mistakes).”  Which is a true fact about cheer that many don’t understand.  With one hand grip out of place the whole stunt could drop which means that competitive cheer is solely a team effort instead of individual, which is different than other sports at lake mary.  Sophomore Hannah Ingrasia pointed out “Not only do you have to worry about your personal routine on the mat, but also 32 other girls”.

Since communication and teamwork is the key to success with cheerleading, it goes without a doubt that the team is extremely close.  The seniors who have been on the team since their sophomore year shared that they’ve never been on a team of girls who have been so close and all dedicated to the same goal.  And ultimately, that closeness and dedication is what lead to their state title and what will carry Lake Mary’s championship name for the years to come.