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The Purple Clarion

The Purple Clarion

Competition cheer is back on the mat

Avery Woolard
Cheerleaders toss jayla Karns into the air as she hits her pike.

Competition cheer for the HHS  Bulldog Cheerleaders has stopped for the last two years due to the lack of a competition coach. This year’s head coach Hilary Ford, assistant coach Jess Martin, and Laura Booth (2007) have decided to take the  Lady Bulldogs back to competition.

Taking a completely new team to competition can be a weakness for this team because none of the freshmen or sophomores have ever been a part of a competitive cheer team. Though this can be challenging, the team definitely still has many strengths.

“I’d say that our strength is the overall positive attitude and motivation from the girls,” Martian said.“They come to practice each day ready to put in the work. We also have better tumbling than we’ve had in a long time, so I’m excited to see that on the mat this year. Our weakness would be our lack of experience with competition. A majority of our girls have never had the opportunity to compete,” Martian said.

Another attribute that can make this transition more difficult is the fact that there is only one senior on the competition team. Senior Lexi Walker is a four-year high school bulldog cheerleader. She was a part of the competition team her sophomore year but now leads the team as the only senior.

I do feel like a leader on the team, mostly because I am the oldest on a team of mostly sophomores and freshmen,” Walker said. “Comp season definitely brings us closer together as a team too because we are around each other so much more,” Walker said.

Though competition is a very different environment from the sideline cheer season it is still very exciting for these Bulldog cheerleaders as they get to display all their hard work and grow closer as a team. “We have a showcase on 10.9,  at 9:30 am to debut our competition routine,’’ Martian announces. Comp season is a very different environment for the HHS Cheerleaders but also a good way for them to be able to work toward a team goal.

“Competition season always seems to bring on a more serious environment,” Martain said. “Practices are longer, the girls are putting more effort into mastering skills or memorizing material outside of practice, and everyone is just focused on bettering the routine as a whole. I do feel like bonds grow closer during comp season because we are spending so much time together and all working towards the same goal,” Martain said.

Junior Layla Reeder was on the Harrisburg competitive cheer team her freshman year and has had to learn how to readjust after taking her sophomore year off.

“I definitely do like it a lot more being an upperclassman so I can be a role model and try to help the freshman/sophomores with any questions they have,” Reeder said.

There are several underclassmen who have never competed in cheer before and this can be a change coming from the middle school and high school sidelines.

“It definitely is a big difference coming from middle school cheer to the high school comp team,” freshman Lilli Winkleman said. “There’s a lot of material that we have to learn and it’s a lot of work learning the routine. Even though it’s difficult sometimes, it’s still really exciting,” Winkleman said.

Head coach Hilary Ford has been coaching cheer for a while now and she has past experience with coaching competition cheer.

“The first time I coached competitively was when I started coaching in 1998,” Ford said “ I ‘retired’ in 2013 and did not coach until I started helping out again in 2019.” This is a new season for Ford and all the coaches, and a special season for the girls to get to show off all of the hard work and dedication that they have put into their routines,” Ford said.

“My favorite thing about competitive cheer is it gives the team a chance to showcase their talents,” Ford said. “As cheerleaders, they love to support the Bulldogs; however, I do feel it is good for them to have their own goals and be able to show how hard they work and what they can accomplish as a team. Competitive cheerleading allows them to do that,” Ford said.

These girls spend many hours and days working on routines together. This makes the bond between these cheerleaders grow stronger.

“​​My favorite part about the competition is getting to see our team grow and be supportive of each other,” Ford said. “I strongly believe that the more they begin to work as a family and encourage each other, the better they will be,” Ford said.




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About the Contributor
Avery Woolard
Avery Woolard, Staff Writer
Avery Woolard is a senior at Harrisburg High School. This is her first year on the Purple Clarion news production team. In her free time she loves to read, write, and loves to listen to various types of music. She is also employed at Sonic.  After high school Avery plans to go to SIC before transferring to Colorado Univerity of Colorado Springs to study psychology. This is something she is very passionate about.  “Student journalism is important in today's day and age it gives the students a voice and the ability to be heard, along with a better understanding of what is going on around them all the time.”

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