Quarantines, injuries, grades and hardships have bombarded the NS cheer team throughout the season, but especially right around their region and state competitions.
“We had so many quarantines and some grade issues–it was a bit of a scramble. We basically had to redo everything in two days,” said Cheer Coach Syndi Wilkey. “But for how much time they had, and the fact that their head coach was on quarantine… the seniors just figured it out and it was pretty awesome.”
Between all the quarantines and injuries, the stunt groups had to get used to being rearranged regularly to fit that week’s challenges.
“It gets really hard because we don’t have a ton of alternate people or people who can fill other people’s spots that way they do,” said junior cheerleader, Shaylee Wilkey. “Every stunt group was affected or impacted in some way, which is hard because those are the groups we’ve been working with all year long. Then, to have those dismantled and then be performing in a week, it’s difficult to just throw something together.”
At their region competition, the team took second in the Co-Ed Show Cheer category and first in the Time Out Cheer category, which earned them a second place title overall.
“It actually went pretty good, all things considered. That was the first time we had done a full out of the routine,” said senior Male Stunt Captain, Ben Anderson. “Even though we didn’t get first, we did not do as badly as we thought we did, which is always a confidence boost. I do believe that our experience at region will help us prepare better for state.”
And indeed, they were more than prepared for state. Despite having two of their members quarantined the week before the state competition and the toll that it took on the team, they brought home the state title.
“As far as I know, it’s the first time we’ve ever done it in cheer. I think for us it was huge, especially with so much that we had overcome,” coach Wilkey said. “They needed this win and they got it. Looking at the score sheets, before deductions even came into play for anyone, we beat them by a solid five points in stunting alone. That was huge, that’s a huge gap in the cheer world.”
The state cheer competition is run through the Utah Cheer Club Sports by the state rep, who works for the Utah High School Sports Association (UHSSA). The team competed in two different divisions. A smaller division called Time Out Cheer and then the main division, Co-Ed Show Cheer. Among the three that qualified for State were Grantsville, Emery, and NS for the Co-Ed division and then Union and Morgan for the Time Out Cheer category.
“It was really good. We had to step up a lot,” said senior Competition Captain, Lexi Welch. “Personally, I became a flyer in a week so that was really rough, especially after just coming back from COVID. Even though we won, I feel like before we got out there, I was more proud of how we all stepped up because we went through a lot. I’m just really proud of us for how we overcame it.”
With each of the punches thrown their way, the team had to learn how to roll with it and find their reason for competing.
“It was so much fun. We took state! And I feel like we all really put in our best work. We all had a good reason to be there and we all did it for the people who weren’t there.” said senior cheerleader, Ady Hafen. “For Sharlee and Halle. For me that was my reason. And we all did it for each other. We put all of it on the mat.”