Cheer rallies for new season, looks for new leaders

Kendall Rhoads

After the freshman and JV football teams combined, the cheer team’s season is in full swing, with the switch affecting them minimally.

Heather Brabo-Long, the cheer coach for the past nine years, said the JV team will now be cheering for the freshman/sophomore football team.

The combination of the two football teams has affected the cheer team less than expected, according to senior Jenna Hassell, captain of the varsity team. The group of girls were split into the same JV and varsity teams as previous years.

The varsity team lost nine graduating seniors from the team last year, leaving a team consisting of mostly sophomores and a smaller number of juniors and seniors.  

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Cheerleaders hold up a flyer during practice for preparation of this year’s Homecoming game performance. Despite the loss of the JV football team, the program remains strong.

“I’m just looking for leadership in the girls who were voted as captain who have been here since the beginning as freshmen,” Brabo-Long said.

This year, the JV team consists of 27 girls. The majority of the girls are freshmen, which is more than in previous years, according to Brabo-Long.

“When I was on the JV team as a freshman, I had to cheer for the JV football team and I didn’t really know any of the players,” Hassell said. “But all the freshman girls on JV get to cheer for people in their own grade, which is exciting.”

In preparation for the year, the team practiced all summer with the varsity team at Redwood and also attended a cheer camp at UC Santa Cruz.

“The girls did amazing,” Brabo-Long said.  “Varsity scored all-superior [highest ranking] in all their evaluations, which kicked off to a great start.”

Hassell tried out as an incoming freshman, making the JV team and later varsity her sophomore year.

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Supported by her team mates, Jenna Hassell prepares for the homecoming rally.

“As a team, we get to do a lot of things like representing our school in home and away games, being in the parade, and getting to compete in several competitions,”  Hassell said.  

Whether or not the teams will be participating in competitions is undecided, according to Brabo-Long.

“The [competitions] are really intense,” Hassell said. “It’s more of the competitive side to cheering. A lot of people are seriously in it to win it. It’s less about cheering in a game and it’s more about stunts and trying things that are really hard for the group.”

During competition season, the girls compete against different star teams from all around the country.

The teams are preparing extensively for the homecoming game and rally, according to Brabo-Long.

“A lot of the bases of stunts were seniors who left, so now we’re all with a bunch of different groups of girls who can do different things and are working our way back to the same skills we had,” Hassell said.