Bearden’s student section knows firsthand the outcome of the cheer team’s offseason workouts. They get to see and hear better than anybody the energy and passion.
But they may not know what all goes on behind the scenes to get the cheerleaders ready for a new season.
Cheer practices are at times a little more flexible and offer the athletes more opportunities to contribute ideas. The girls work on their own stunts and dance ideas, making it a creative-based practice.
“We have girls that will make up dances in their spare time and teach them at practice,” senior captain Lily Bailes said. “And practices get pretty creative because we all like to come up with something better every week.”
But they do many coordinated drills as well to prepare for the specific routines that they perform during games.
“At practices, the girls work on sideline cheers, band dances, group stunts, tumbling, basket tosses, and pyramids,” cheerleading coach Trish Mancini said. “Their goal is to try to come up with things that will get the crowd involved.”
This includes all of the dances they create that they do at the games and dances that they work on to go with the band’s music.
Though some of the routines are the tried and true from past years, the team also always wants to keep things fresh with new dances. This requires them to talk out choreography together to fit according to the different songs that the band plays.
“This year we’ve added a lot of new [dances] and basically the normal drumline that plays, we have five different dances to that, and we have names for each one,” senior captain Ashley Jones said.
This shows the amount of work that goes into creating dances just for the drumline’s numbers, and that doesn’t include the other songs that the band performs.
There are usually two new songs that the band does every year during the football games which requires the cheer team to create at least one new dance, taking a lot of practice and time to get it right.
“We have 20 different dances, and it was a lot [to learn], but everyone is doing really good,” Jones said.