Competitive cheer amps up for winter season

Team plans for difficult routine, acquires new skills learned from summer camp


Competitive cheer team practices block routine at SC field house Nov. 21 for competition. (LION/Gartner).

Aero Gartner, Reporter

Competitive cheer, after plenty of long hours over the summer, is back again for their competition season and has plans to return better than ever. With a new block routine that challenges the team’s weaknesses and tests their athletic abilities, the group is prepared to take LT’s name all the way to State, base Lucy Schlacks ‘23 said. 

“[This year’s block routine] is probably the hardest routine that we’ve ever been given, both tumbling and skills wise,” Schlacks said. “We’re really getting into the competitiveness of fast paced routines and skills that are all back to back.”

The team is heavily relying on their strength in applying corrections, keeping a positive attitude, and being there for each other through all frustrations, Schlacks said. They are also aiming to improve their issues with overthinking, doubting their talents, and overworking themselves.

The team, in order to get to the level of success they have achieved thus far, participated as a group in a summer camp entitled Xperience Cheer Camp in preparation for the winter season.

“Over the summer is when you start to get all the skills that you need,” Schlacks said. “It also helps bring the team together. The dynamic is a lot better since we spent all that time together.”

There are two rounds of tryouts for the team, one taking place over the summer for the football season, and the other taking place in October for the competition season, Schlacks said. A majority of the group members who are on the team for football season will remain on the team for the competition season, making these summer camps especially crucial to team and skill building.

During the school year, varsity head coach Sharon Lupo, who has been coaching alongside assistant coach Ana Samaniego for 10 years, is honing in on the skills the team has acquired over the summer in order to ensure that they’ll be using their full potential and range of capabilities. 

“We started in the summer with two practices a week,” Lupo said. “We worked on stunts, tumbling, and jumps. We attended a cheer camp in June where we won Grand Champions of the camp. The kids learned new skills as well as their football halftime routine. We’ve worked with great choreographers for our competition routine and did team bonding to keep the team energy strong.”

The team meets for practices every Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday at the SC fieldhouse from 3:45 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. to prepare for their competitions. Their first competition began on Dec. 11 for the Marian Catholic Invite and their practices will continue at NC in the basketball and gymnastics gyms after winter break.

Despite these lengthy, occasionally frustrating practices and the danger of the sport itself, the team sees each other as a family and is looking forward to the joy the competition brings, Schlacks said. 

“You do every single part of the routine with no flaws, and all of the stress you had at practice and all of the things that were so frustrating before just drop,” Schlacks said. “You come off of the mat just feeling on top of the world.”