The Centralia High School cheerleaders competed and won fourth place in the Regional Cheerleading Competition on Sunday, October 27, 2019, at St. Francis Borgia High School in Washington, Missouri.
To prepare for the competition, the cheerleaders worked on their routines every day trying to clean up the details by perfecting their stunts and tumbling, working on their voices and conditioning.
Coach Kropf, CHS head cheerleading coach, said she had two major goals for the team. Her first goal was to have fun. The cheerleaders know that they only have three minutes and one chance to show what they have worked on for months, which can cause a lot of anxiety. So Kropf really wanted the cheerleaders to remember to have fun and enjoy each moment at the competitions. Kropf’s second goal for the team was for them to do their best and perform well. “Of course, I would love for us to place this year, seeing as we are back in an all girls’ division against more schools our size. But what I want most is for them to feel proud of the way they performed when they walked off the mat. Win or lose, I want them to feel they did the best they could have done,” Kropf said.
At a cheer competition, each team checks in and they warm up their stunts, jumps, tumbling and the overall routine. Then each team gets three minutes to perform in front of judges. Those judges score the cheerleaders on many different skills, including stunts, baskets, pyramids, jumps, tumbling, voice, crowd leadership, creativity and synchronization. All of these are scored on difficulty and performance.
There are also penalty judges who watch for any unsafe moves, which gives the team a penalty on the score sheet. After the cheerleaders perform, they watch the rest of the teams perform. When every team has performed, the judges tally all of the scores and distribute awards. The top five schools in each division at regionals move on to state. At state, the top five receive plaques for placing within their division.
Kropf says that the biggest challenge when it comes to cheer competitions is finding the time to practice all of the required skills. If the cheerleaders focus too much on one skill, they let another skill slip and they must be good at all of it to win.
Kropf’s favorite memory of cheer competitions is the first year the cheerleaders won state. The girls had worked so hard, and they performed what they felt like was a perfect routine. When the winners are announced, the judges start at the end of the places. So the cheerleaders and Kropf heard other schools being called but not their name. The excitement grew every time their name was not called. And when they called second place, and it still was not them, Kropf thought her whole team was going to explode because they knew that meant they won first place.
Kropf’s advice to any new cheerleader that is about to experience their first cheer competition, is to not let it overwhelm them. It can be a lot when a cheerleader first walks in and sees all of the other schools. Cheerleaders also watch other teams warm up as well, and it can sometimes be intimidating, watching them work on their routines. Kropf advises to relax, take a breath and remember how good their team is.
The CHS cheerleaders will compete this Saturday, November 16, 2019, at Lindenwood University for state competition. Their performance time is at 10:40 a.m.