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Cheerleaders form super squad

While a small group of varsity or JV cheerleaders shout to inspire spirit throughout sports games, a squad of all 25 together creates a strong team which can compete with the best in the country.

After varsity cheer won the United Spirit Association (USA) Nationals last year and JV concluded an undefeated season, cheer coach Katie Mendenhall decided to combine the two teams in order to unify their competition efforts.

?The reason we decided to combine the squads this year was because the younger girls have the same amount of training as the varsity team because of youth cheer,? Mendenhall said. ?They are at the same skill level, so there was no need to separate JV and varsity from each other for competition. Also, it has also always been my dream to have a really large squad.?

Although Mendenhall feels confident in the upcoming year, some cheerleaders show concern about the introduction of a new team direction. Two-time all-star captain Lindsay Bolduc, ’09, believes this year will be exciting and provide new difficulties due to the larger squad.

?I am excited for this year, but it will definitely be a challenge, because we have so many girls that love to talk, so it gets kind of chaotic. We have never had a squad this big, so creating the routine is really different.?

In the midst of a transition to a varsity position, third year cheerleader Leah Christopher, ’10, a back base, must also adjust to performing in the super squad division.

?I think that it is harder to learn everything with a big team, but I also think it was the best decision for this year,? Christopher said. ?I am most nervous for the stunts, because there are so many people and everyone is doing different things so it can get confusing and distracting. But I am really excited for Disneyland and nationals because everyone gets to go.?

With a full range of grades on the squad, the under and upperclassmen must work together to maintain a positive team mentality.

Freshman Morgan Childs, a base, must perform with cheerleaders who have four more years of high school experience, and feels nervous about competing at a varsity level.

?I feel pretty comfortable on the squad, but some of the sophomores and juniors look down on the freshmen,? Childs said. ?Thankfully, Katie is such a good cheer coach and some of the girls are very nice and inclusive.?

Despite a combined competition squad, the teams will remain distinct, with the freshmen and sophomore JV team cheering at all of the JV games and the first half of varsity games. Varsity, comprised of juniors and seniors, will perform at all varsity games.

?Games have less pressure to be perfect because we’re not being judged,? sophomore Kory Thompson, JV captain and flyer, said. ?We don’t have to perform at varsity’s standards. That makes them carefree and fun.?

The super squad’s first competition will be at Clovis North Educational Center, Nov. 8, to qualify for USA nationals in Anaheim.

For more information on cheer, visit the Sept. 3 article, Squad repeats FCC cheer camp success, the March 12, 2008 article, Cheer USA Nationals 2008 champions or their competition schedule.

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