With High Spirits

Cheer Places in Top Five at UIL Championship

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Jordan Garza

Varsity cheerleaders pose in Cowboy Stadium as they cheer for the football team at the state football championships on Jan. 15, just one day after the they competed in the Spirit Championships in Fort Worth, placing fifth. Senior Captain Emma Vorndran expressed pride at the team’s work and said she is grateful for her time with them. “I would not want to be on any other team,” Vorndran said. “I feel as if this is the best team I have ever been a part of in regards to both talent and friendships. The relationships that have been made on this team are meaningful to each and every individual, and I am so proud of how far this team has come. The best part about being a senior captain is watching the younger classmen grow in skill and their love for cheer.”

Ruchi Sankolli, Reporter

On Jan 14, the competition cheer team placed fifth in the 5A UIL Spirit Championship in Fort Worth.  After they finished competing, they hopped on a bus and headed to Dallas, where they spent Jan. 15 cheering for the football team as they played in the 5a Division 1 state football championship, a game that usually happens in December. This was just one of the many changes and adaptations that cheer has had to overcome in this year. 

I am proud of how determined this team has been, especially during the pandemic,” senior captain Emma Vorndran said. “While we were limited by coronavirus restrictions, we stayed resilient. We focused on our goal to hit our routines at all of our competitions, and we accomplished that goal. I am so proud of how hard everyone has worked this year.”

The Spirit UIL Championship had six rounds, but the fifth and sixth rounds had divisions one and two. The Cedar Park cheer team was in the fifth round, division one. The team performed a routine that incorporated challenging stunt skills, along with many crowd-leading sections within three minutes. In a normal UIL Spirit competition, there would be a preliminary system where the team would perform each section of the routine separately, then later find out if scores were combined, which would get them enough points to get to finals. However, due to the pandemic, the team performed the whole routine within 10 seconds of spiriting in between each part for the preliminary round this year.

“Since our performances were so limited, we weren’t able to practice more elite stunts and tumbling as we normally do,” head cheer coach Nadira King said. 

 According to junior Jani Jung, this was a very different situation for the team. 

“This was definitely a very different situation we have ever been put in as it is not something we would normally expect,”  Jung said. “But we did the best we could, which led us to advance to finals.” 

The team, according to King, had a lot of challenges to overcome as they prepared for the competition. From cancelled community service events to limited performances, the team still pushed through with dedication and spirit. 

Due to the pandemic, we weren’t able to cheer at indoor events/games nor were we allowed to have pep rallies,” King said. “A lot of our community service events were canceled, so our whole focus this year has been on the UCA Regionals competition, NCA Regionals, UIL and NCA Nationals. Due to their dedication and spirit, we placed 1st at UCA Regionals and 5th at UIL. We are now looking forward to Nationals.”

For Vorndran, all that matters is the resilience and determination of the team to overcome their challenges. She became varsity captain at the end of her junior year, and used that knowledge to help drive the team in their work, all while maintaining a positive outlook. 

There is a lot of work put into the game-day and competition routines,” Vorndran said. “As captain, my main goal is to lead by example and encourage my teammates to practice with a positive attitude.” 

At the end of the day, Vorndran said, there is no other team she would be a part of. Making this journey with the team is what makes it the best, she said. 

“I would not want to be on any other team,” Vorndran said. “I feel as if this is the best team I have ever been a part of in regards to both talent and friendships. The relationships that have been made on this team are meaningful to each and every individual, and I am so proud of how far this team has come. The best part about being a senior captain is watching the younger classmen grow in skill and their love for cheer.”

For junior Teagan Eberts, the team’s work and effort is something every member knows. She strives to work for the next season and be more optimistic towards her goals. 

“I think we did an amazing job,” Eberts said. “Even though we got fifth [place], I know how hard we worked and I couldn’t be more proud of our team. My goals for next season is to just work my hardest and, no matter the outcome, be proud because only we know how much effort we put into everything.”  

With all the support from the school, the team is very motivated for next year, according to King. Indeed, members like Jung said that the support is all they need. 

“Knowing that we have so many supporters makes me feel so proud to be a part of this program,” Jung said. “I feel such a great sense of fulfillment knowing that we have so many people who are appreciative of the many things that [the] cheer [team] does for the school.” 

The behind-the-scenes work and the opportunity to compete was also a big factor in the team’s optimistic outlook. A lot of work was put into preparing and being supported along the way was inspiring, King said. 

“The championship this year was run and judged very differently due to the restraints of the pandemic,” King said. “But we are happy we were given the opportunity to actually compete. Our competitions are what have driven us this year, and we are so thankful for all of the support we’ve been given.”

Members also feel a sense of accomplishment and pride over how much work was put in. This also played a role in strengthening team bonds, according to Eberts. 

“We worked so hard throughout the whole season, and I feel like it definitely brought us closer together as a team,” Eberts said. “We needed to remember to stay positive in every situation because our positive attitudes reflected on each other a lot and it helped us a lot.” 

The members have their own personal goals they want to fulfill for next season, and they aim to get better and better every season. For Jung, working hard and putting in more effort into the program is the main goal to achieve. 

“My goal for the next season as a captain next year is to put in every effort into the program to make sure that we have a successful season, but [also] have fun during the journey as well,” Jung said. “We are having almost a whole new team next year as we are losing half of the team due to [the] seniors leaving, so we are definitely going to have to work even harder, but that is something I know we are fully capable of, so I’m looking forward to the next year.” 

To finish this year, the cheer team will be competing at Nationals, which is set to take place on Mar. 6-7. They will be competing virtually, and will be sending a professional recording and sending it in.