What it takes to be an HCHS cheerleader

By Karyssa Lamb, Staff Writer

Cheerleading takes a lot of hard work. Not many people realize that until they get to high school. Middle school cheerleading is simply the basics when it comes to skill and talent. Once you start your freshman year, cheerleading becomes a lot more difficult.
Open gym is a week prior to tryouts when girls can learn material and different skills to be able to succeed in making the team. This is when you really realize what HC cheerleading is all about. However, even if you make it through open gym, there’s still a long road ahead of you.
Cheerleading consists of many different aspects such as flipping, stunting, memorizing cheers, sideline dances, timeout cheers, competition dances, floor cheers and crowd cheers. There is also a different formation for every one of these things.
Another thing that is very precise on the cheerleading team is knowing and memorizing your motions depending on the roll you’re in during the formations. Flipping on a count to make an illusion is something we do often.
As an HC cheerleader, there are a lot of traditions that are passed down to you, like our stunt cheers and school song. Those are extremely important to know because we do them a lot. Another requirement is that every cheerleader has to execute a standing back handspring consistently.
Tumbling is a big aspect in cheerleading at HC. Typically, the difficulty can range from a standing back handspring layout, which we strive to have a few of every year for our competition season, to a simple standing back handspring.
“Cheerleading builds hardworking skills, discipline and character,” said HCHS cheerleading coach Anissa Alred on what she expects from her “cheer cubs.”
Also, constructive criticism is something you have to be able to withstand. Newcomers should expect being criticized for the mistakes they make, but they shouldn’t take it the wrong way. Being critiqued isn’t a bad thing. You should take it as motivation to do better.
The main thing to have as a Harlan County cheerleader is determination. You will be expected to set a goal and achieve it, then eventually surpass it. Cheering isn’t something you can do for a pastime. You have to be determined to do it. Being a determined HC cheerleader will show great character and will make you excel in the sport.