The East cheerleaders will not just be cheering at football and basketball games this year. For the first time in history, all of the East cheerleading squads will be participating in two competitions in November and December.
While head coach Lindsey Haymond coached in Texas for five years, she and her squad participated in a number of competitions. When she first came to East last year, she knew she wanted to start competing and get the other Shawnee Mission schools to participate.
“I saw what competitions did for my team in Texas,” Haymond said. “Even though it’s not a big deal here, I still want to make cheerleading more of a sport than just an activity.”
The squads found out they would be competing last year and ever since the second week of August, they have been practicing routines and stunts for their performance coming up next month.
“I was really excited because this is the first time we will get to participate in something like this,” Senior Isabella Tomelleri said. “I knew other schools had done it before and I was glad that we could do something that the other schools get to participate in.”
Haymond hired a choreographer from Houston, Tex. to help the girls work on their routines and they also had routine camp to learn the shell of the routine and the transitions. According to Haymond, the girls have been working on improving each part and cleaning it up so when they take the floor at the competition, the routine will be perfect.
The first competition will be held on Nov. 11 at Blue Valley West. According to Haymond, this competition will mainly be local schools participating, so there won’t be as many teams as the second competition. In December at Mill Valley, the girls will be competing with about 28 different teams from around the state.
“I am really nervous for the first competition since it is completely new to our squad,” Senior Grace DeGoler said. “Hopefully by the second competition our squad will feel more prepared and confident and we will hopefully improve even more.”
Besides winning first place, Haymond wants the Shawnee Mission district to raise their standards for cheerleading. Blue Valley and Olathe schools have been competing for a long time so it puts Shawnee Mission behind.
“Since this is our first time competing, I am terrified,” Haymond said. “We have a really good routine put together so we have a lot of potential to wow people but we can also crumble which scares me.”
Haymond has been scouting the different teams to see how the other schools compare to East. The squads have watched the Blue Valley schools’ videos to see what they have done in the past and according the DeGoler, Blue Valley North will be their biggest competition.
“As of now, I don’t feel like we are 100 percent prepared but as we get closer to the competition, I know we will be ready to compete,” DeGoler said. “I think our squad is in the middle of everyone else, there will be teams that are better and there will be teams that are worse than us.”
According to Haymond, the team has already improved from having to change people around in the routine and perfecting it. Since the girls have been working on this for such a long time, Haymond wants them to feel accomplished and be able to walk away with a high score.
“It will be a different side that Shawnee Mission East has never seen before,” Haymond said. “We will be performing our competition routine at a pep assembly so I think the squad will be excited to show their peers what they can do.”