Building their way up

They’re at practically every event, from football games to pep rallies and assemblies. Known for their flips and mid-air splits, they practice five days a week to put on an exciting show. Where there’s school spirit, there’s the cheer team.

This year, the lack of a coach makes organizing the cheer process more challenging. Cheer captains seniors Brianna Cervantes, Nikki Frossine and Kasadi Montenegro work to fill the coach’s shoes by creating routines, teaching them to the other members, organizing practices and performance material and managing their teammates.

“[The captains] have learned how to respond to certain situations,” Frossine said. “If the team has a problem, we’re the ones who have to adapt [for] that problem and change things to fix that problem. We have to really be the ones to decide things and really stick to our decisions.”

Without a coach, it is difficult for the captains to know when and where they need to perform. Information that used to be relayed to the coach, such as deadlines and call times, are now handled by the team captains.

“In the beginning, it was super hard, but then we’re starting to find a way to make things work. It’s becoming easier, little by little,” Cervantes said. “It’s been difficult, but I think we’re gonna get back.”

The leaders work on distributing work evenly amongst themselves and organizing team practices ahead of time. They brainstorm ideas for routines, practice methods and bring them to the team for feedback. Communication between the captains and the team is crucial in making a cheer routine a reality.

“We learn from our mistakes, and since [Kasidi, Brianna, and I] have been on the team for a long time, we kind of know what to expect,” Frossine said.

The cheer captains face issues on regulating their team as well. To gain the respect and attention necessary to direct their teammates, the captains remind the team members of the rules when there is misconduct. The leaders often find it challenging to maintain a good relationship and discipline the team at the same time.

“Some girls take it well and listen, and some girls may not listen, but in the end, I think they all respect us,” Frossine said. “[The team has] definitely grown with how to adapt without a coach and how to be more independent.”

As the cheer team progresses, they begin to assist the captains with their jobs by reminding them of supplies to bring to performances and taking initiative during practices. They have also scheduled bonding events to further strengthen relationships within the team. In spite of the obstacles the cheer team is encountering, the girls still choose to diligently practice and perform at games and pep rallies.

“Just having that passion for something, whether it’s yourself, your team or for another team really drives school spirit. It shows who you are and what kind of person you are to go to a sporting event not just for yourself, but also to cheer on other people,” Montenegro said. “It brings around a more positive attitude towards yourself and other people.”

By Joy Wang, Staff writer
Photo by Samuel Compolongo