More than a medal

Cheerleaders win 10th at UIL state competition

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photo credit: Angela Arp

Poms up \\ Competing at the UIL State Championship, the cheerleaders perform their routine Jan. 14. The team placed 10th in the state. “We have put more work in than years in the past,” senior Gracie Tower said. “We got our competition choreography in September and have been working on it ever since.” 

writer: Cali Scott, Staff Reporter

The cheerleaders hold each other’s hands tightly sitting down on the stage during awards hoping they aren’t the next school called. Their hearts are pounding as the judges announce place by place from the bottom up. The judges announce 10th place as Wylie East High School, and the team begins to scream and jump up and down. 

The cheerleaders, sponsored by Amy Tietjen, Kami Story, and Monica Munoz, won the best place at the UIL Cheer Competition in the history of the school. 

The cheer team competed at the UIL State cheerleading competition at the Fort Worth Convention center Jan. 14. 

Having a family dynamic is really important to everything we do. We had to learn to trust each other which is so important when we are doing things like stunting,”

— Sophomore Janelle Harbert

The team hit a zero deduction routine which is a routine with no mistakes. While they felt pretty confident, they still had to wait to see if they made finals. Hours later, the cheerleaders were announced in the top 20 final teams. 

“The stress was almost unbearable sitting in the arena waiting for them to announce us as a state finalist. When they said our school, so much weight was lifted off of us,” sophomore Braelyn Wiest said. 

After competing in finals, the team was announced as 10th place, the highest place the school has ever earned at the competition. The next best placing was 12th place last year. 

“Honestly our goal was top 10, but we wanted to win. It was amazing to hear our name called,” senior Gracie Tower said. 

Their achievement was not without work though. The cheerleaders practice everyday for 2.5 hours before school and have some additional practices before big events. 

“We have put more work in than years in the past. We got our competition choreography in September and have been working on it ever since,” Tower said. 

Not only do the athletes have to learn and build on their skills, but they also have to have strong relationships to trust their teammates. 

“Having a family dynamic is really important to everything we do. We had to learn to trust each other which is so important when we are doing things like stunting,” sophomore Janelle Harbert said. 

While the relationships may have just started as teammates, they soon turned to each other for things apart from cheer. 

“My relationships with my teammates are amazing. I feel like I have sisters that I can confide in at any point with no judgment,” Harbert said. 

Trying to win a medal is the reason all of these athletes started working, but along the way they gained so much more. 

“Winning is definitely our goal and why we put in so much work,” Tower said. “However, for the seniors it’s our legacy that matters the most to us. We wanted this year to be the year that we left something better for the next teams to come. We have definitely accomplished that.”