MSHS brings in more cheerleaders with a new competition team

MSHS+cheer+team+at+half+time+at+the+first+home+football+game+on+September+4.

Trish McCumber

MSHS cheer team at half time at the first home football game on September 4.

Morgan Flannery, Reporter

The Manitou Springs High School’s cheerleading team has split into two branches, a strictly sideline side and a competition side. The team held a fall tryout at the end of August, which added seven new members and introduced the split. Placement on each team is based on the athlete’s skill level and experience, allowing more people to enjoy the sport.

In years past, the MSHS cheer team has held only a spring tryout, developing a team to practice over the summer months in preparation for the upcoming school year. The recent split was a decision attempting to provide an opportunity for everyone wanting to join. The fall tryout did not cut anyone from the team. “I think the main reason was to allow for more participation. Only having competition limited how many girls could join the team,” said Cameron Jones, Athletic Director at MSHS. 

Previously, all cheerleaders would not only do sideline cheering, but all the athletes accepted on the team would participate in various competitions throughout the season. “So, sideline is like you’re cheering at the games and then competition is like, we’re in our own little world. And we have a whole routine. We go to state,” said Raelynn Woje (11), a team captain. The state competition is usually held in December.

As CHSAA requires athletes on the competitive team to cheer on the sidelines as well. Currently, there are 18 members, and only three are exclusively sideline. The recent tryout added seven new members to both teams. “I think that some people really wanted to be able to cheer for games and have the uniforms and do that, but they just weren’t really ready for the commitment of a competition team. And a lot of girls wanted to be on the team but didn’t make the tryouts,” said Anna Apotheker (11), another captain on the team. 

Cheerleaders who had been on the team since last May were not aware of an August tryout until it happened, and it has been getting mixed feelings from the athletes. “It’s alright, I’d rather just have a competition team. It’s a little frustrating on sideline practice days for the competition team to just be teaching the sideline team everything and it just takes a little longer for them to get it,” said Apotheker. The competition team practices every day, while the sideline joins in on practices two-three times a week.

Although the response from cheerleaders was across the board, the decision had everyone’s best interest in mind. “ I feel like it’s better for some people because then they won’t have the pressure of it, and then we won’t have the pressure of teaching them the whole routine, especially when they’re brand new,” said Woje.

All things considered, cheer has a place for everyone, and now more than ever, one of the reasons so many athletes try out each year.  “My favorite part is probably the team environment you know, getting to know each other and building really deep connections,” Apotheker said.