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Hunter cheerleaders compete at nationals

Mar 13, 2018 05:17PM ● Published by Greg James

The cheer squad for Hunter High School took first place in its division at two competitions. (Hunter yearbook)

The Hunter High School cheer team is scheduled to compete in the USA Spirit Nationals in Anaheim, California.

“Our girls always put in 100 percent. They practice every day early mornings and stay after school,” Wolverines head coach Hayley Huston said. “They are constantly conditioning and practicing. They really work on our routines which can be very tedious.”

The Wolverines took first place in the coed division at the Wildcat Invitational at Weber State University. The division includes any crowd-oriented male and female teams. They also took first place at the Roy Invitational.

The Wolverines won a USA Spirit national championship in 2016 in the coed division also.

Competitive cheerleading is scored subjectively based on components including dance, pyramids, stunting and tumbling. According to the Encyclopedia of Sports Medicine there are two purposes of cheerleading— to cheer on the sidelines for other athletes and to become a highly skilled athlete themselves. 

“I always want these girls to have a good attitude and represent our school. They go to every single sport event from swimming to tennis matches and everything in between,” Huston said.

Hunter was scheduled to compete at the USA Spirit Nationals in Anaheim, California Feb 21-25 (after press deadline.)

The cheerleader’s job is to lead the school and represent its student body. The Wolverines’ cheerleaders participate in parades and many other community events.

“The school is a big part of the community. These girls are right out front for everyone to see,” Huston said.

The Wolverines cheerleaders practice three to four times each week, support other school athletes almost every day and perform during halftime shows.   

Cheerleading is not considered a sanctioned sport under the Utah High School Activities Association umbrella although they support all of its sanctioned activities.

Many Utah cheer teams have added a competitive element as part of their teams recently. They compete in regional and national events including the Utah State Cheerleading Competition at Salt Lake Community College Jan. 27. 

As cheerleading has evolved so have the skills necessary to participate. Many teams require its members to demonstrate jumping and tumbling skills during tryouts.

“It helps when our girls come to us with some experience; although it is not required. There are several pre-high-school teams that teach the girls to become better cheerleaders,” Huston said.

The NFL’s first cheerleading squad began in the 1950s with the Baltimore Colts. Cheerleading became more universally recognized in the mid ‘70s with the organization of the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders. 

Cheerleaders from seven countries recently participated in the Winter Olympics in South Korea. They provided crowd support to the athletes participating in the games. Recently the California High School Activities Association voted to make cheerleading a sanctioned sport under the high school sports commission.

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