Cheer team qualifies for state competition


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Junior Alexus Brown goes up for a toe touch during the Homecoming Assembly in September. The squad’s competition routine qualified for the state competition on Dec. 1.

The cheer team has brought back a tradition of competitive cheer and has qualified to compete at the state contest.

  It was 2004 when the Warsaw cheer team won fifth place in the Missouri Cheerleading Coaches Association (MCCA) State competition and the team has a renewed competitive spirit as they took fifth place in the St. Louis Regional MCCA Competition on Nov. 10.

  Under the direction of cheer coach Rachel Eichler, a member of the 2004 Warsaw squad, the cheer team worked up a competition-worthy routine. Eichler said her goal was to simply take the team to the regional competition for the experience and was proud to watch them place and qualify for state.

  The 10 members of the squad prepared a three-minute routine that included one cheer, many stunts, one chant and a dance.

  The team is making a few changes and improvements for the state competition on Dec. 1, spending hours in practice to prepare.

  Senior captain Helena Givens said the pressure of competition and hard work of practice was worth it. The team practices every morning from 6:20 until the start of the school day at 8 a.m.

  “It was so worth it, when you go out on the mat, it really pays off,” Givens said. “People don’t take cheer seriously around here, maybe with us going to state, people will start to realize what we are capable of.”

  Sophomore Hallie Wenberg was impressed by the professionalism of the competition and enjoyed watching and learning from the other squads.

  “I really want people to notice cheer is an actual sport. We compete. We don’t just cheer on our players, but actually compete ourselves,” Wenberg said.

  Cheerleaders are preparing for state competition, but three are also preparing to perform at the Citrus Bowl in Orlando, Florida on Jan. 1. Three Warsaw cheerleaders,  senior Helena Givens, sophomore Morgan Branson and junior Alexus Brown, were selected as NCA (National Cheerleaders Association) All-American Cheerleaders. They were chosen after being nominated and tested at camp in June.

  “Only a few people make it each year and it is the best of the best in the state, so it is pretty cool,” junior Alexus Brown said.

  The cheerleaders who tried out had to perform a cheer, chant and three consecutive jumps.

 “It is really important in the cheer world. It is the highest achievement you can get,” Givens said.

  To attend the trip to Orlando, the cheerleaders raised money through candle sales and candy bars to go on the trip.

 “Not everybody gets the opportunity to do it and if you do, it’s a big deal,” Branson said.

  Coach Eichler, who is in her third year as the cheer coach, was proud of the three cheerleaders named All-American and was excited for their upcoming experience.

  “I was nominated for All-American three out of the four years I cheered varsity of requirements with the material learned at camp in high school. I made All-American my senior year. It was very exciting! I got to perform at the halftime show at the Orange Bowl with another teammate. It was an experience I will never forget,” she said.

 State competition and All-American cheerleaders are helping the team get noticed.

 “The program is starting to grow and I couldn’t be more pleased,” Eichler said.