With the fall season coming to an end, the members of Wilson’s cheerleading team see it as the midpoint of their long, strenuous schedule. After traveling all fall with the varsity football team, the cheerleaders have jumped right into the winter season, juggling tri-weekly practice with basketball games.
The cheerleading team’s schedule runs through the beginning of the school year until the end of the basketball season in February. However, with additional competitions, the team’s season extends towards the end of March as they will participate in the DCIAA and DCSAA cheerleading championships. Because of this their three-day a week schedule may turn into a five-day schedule as the coaches believe that more practices will best prepare them for their important competitions.
Seniors Jaidyn Barber and Keymiah Armstrong have noticed the drastic changes the team has undergone within the past four years, which may stem from coaching changes occuring at the end of each season. Both Barber and Armstrong were the team captains their junior year, but with the addition of the new coaches, Africa “Liz” Lancaster and Dionna McTaw, they decided not to appoint official captains this year. “They didn’t want anyone to feel some type of way,” Armstrong added.
With an initial distaste of the new coaching staff, the supportive team created by the players has allowed the team to move past its team struggles faced at the beginning of the season. At each practice, the team gathers in a circle and takes part in a team building activity, where each player can speak their mind with the goal of eliminating any negative energy before the practice begins. “We say a few things about our day and how we feel and also things that we’re frustrated about,” Barber explained. With any frustrations out of the way, the team is able to focus more on their cheer routines, something that the coaches have been really helpful with.
As the cheerleaders are bringing much needed spirit to every home and away football and basketball game, they would like to see more of the same from more Wilson students. “I think it would be good for more students to come out to big games,” said Armstrong. •