S. C. Lee cheerleaders capture state championship

Special to Leader-Press


Experience helps build a champion athlete, but practice makes perfect. While the S. C. Lee Junior High cheerleaders did not receive a perfect score from the judges at the Texas Cheerleader Fun Cheer Open State Championship in Georgetown last Saturday, they did score highly enough to capture first place in the middle school-intermediate division and advance to the national contest in San Antonio this year. The team is coached by seventh grade math teacher Jade Cooper.

“I chose this competition because it was far enough away from the beginning of the year to give us time to prepare. I also chose this competition because the location was close in proximity to our school,” Cooper said. “For majority of the team, this is their first time being a cheerleader. The potential of each student was so great that we tapped into each one’s strengths and each of them contributed to the team in a big way. They gave their all every practice and seeing their determination confirmed that they were ready to compete at the state level.”

Cooper said the judges as the state contest provided useful feedback to help prepare the squad as it heads to the national contest.

“They want us to keep up the hard work, add some more tumbling skills, and work on staying tight,” Cooper said.

Going into Nationals, Cooper will revamp a small section of the routine to cater to the judges’ requests and will add stunts with a greater degree of difficulty. However, the majority of the routine will stay the same.

Seventh grade cheerleader Taniya Burke knows she will have to rehearse several times to learn the changes to the current routine that she struggled to remember.

"My biggest challenge was remembering some of the moves and keeping my legs together on my backhand spring," Burke said.

Eighth grade cheerleader Sa'Mya Thomas agreed that the most rewarding part of preparing for the state contest was practice.

“Doing the routine repeatedly taught me to keep trying things even if I'm tired or ready to give up,” Thomas said.

In the fall, the cheer captain injured her foot and was not able to participate in the state contest. However, she will be well in time to compete at the national competition.   

Seventh grade cheerleader Emma White felt like the squad had prepared as much as possible before the state contest. But, she was still surprised by its final performance.

"We hit on the mat and everyone performed like we were already winners," White said.

The Fun Cheer 2-Day National Championship is held at the Freeman Coliseum in San Antonio February 29 and March 1.


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