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Squad stays strong, cheers on

Squad+stays+strong%2C+cheers+on
Avery Brasfield

Cheerleaders have always been a staple of high school sporting events, standing on the sidelines to cheer for the school’s team as it competes. Their presence at games is so constant that students might overlook their efforts.  

This past volleyball and football season, Titan cheerleaders proved their resolve, ability and perseverance as they cheered at two high-stress events. While the expectations surrounding the football playoff and state volleyball quarterfinal were on opposite sides of the spectrum, the situations were similar in the way the cheerleaders were expected to perform to a certain standard no matter what.

Sophia Hegge, 11th, cheering with her teammates. (Avery Brasfield)

The football playoff game against Elkhorn South on Oct. 27 at Elkhorn Stadium was unique in the sense that the outlook for the game seemed to heavily favor the Elkhorn team, which ultimately ended the season ranked 6th in the state while the Titans ranked 49th. 

Savanna Skidmore, a senior on the varsity cheer squad, said “[Before the game] we knew the outcome wasn’t gonna be very good,” a sentiment that was shared by many of the cheerleaders. Despite the poor expectations of the game, the cheerleaders were committed to cheering no matter what might happen.

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With the Titans down 35-0 at halftime, and the temperature 35°F and dropping, the entire student section left. 

Sophia Hegge, a junior on varsity cheer, expressed her frustration with the situation, saying: “It’s kinda sad when the student section leaves because we’re not doing so well. It just shows poor sportsmanship … and poor school spirit, and it doesn’t really represent our school well.” 

Despite her disappointment in the lack of student participation, Hegge said she was motivated to keep cheering by looking inward and at her teammates, making the best of the situation by trying to remain positive.

Cheyenne Kellett, 12th, and Mollie Paiz, 11th, stunt in front of the sunset.

Meanwhile, sophomore cheerleader Sophia Pile looked outward at the football team for motivation. “I just knew that if the football boys thought there was no one there, at least they had the cheer team and parents,” Pile said. “They needed some support, even if there were no students there.” 

The Titans did manage to score in the second half, ending the game with an 8-42 loss.

Pile focused on ensuring that the team knew it still had someone there to support it, reflecting on her role as a member of the cheer team and saying, “a part of the cheer team is being there and supportive and doing whatever it takes to try and boost that energy of any player.”

While the football playoff’s situation was characterized by a lack of people and low expectations, the state volleyball quarterfinal against the PLHS Monarchs at Pinnacle Bank Arena on Nov. 1 was the exact opposite. With two consecutive championships at state in the previous two years for the Titans, expectations for the game’s outcome remained high despite a 2-3 loss to the Monarchs earlier in the season, on Oct. 18. 

When asked about those expectations, Hegge said, “We just knew that we had to smile and be extra positive, because there was a lot of pressure on that game – so we really needed to be on our A-game.”

Raena Kaimikaua, 12th, at state volleyball. (Avery Brasfield)

Despite the pressure to perform, Cheyenne Kellett, senior and co-captain of varsity cheer, said, “Heading into the game knowing our team was amazing was exciting, because I knew no matter the outcome, it was going to be a good match.” 

The Monarchs came out strong, winning the first two sets, 25-23 and 25-19. Then the Titans appeared to surge back with a 28-26 win, but they ultimately lost in the fourth set, with the Monarchs winning 25-23. 

Despite being eliminated from the state contest by the Monarchs, the Titans ultimately held on to their 1st-place ranking in the state based on their season record.

With both season-ending matchups coming with their own set of challenges, the cheerleaders were split on which game they believed to be more challenging. 

Destiny Herndon, 12th, shows her school spirit. (Avery Brasfield)

Pile was among the cheerleaders who said the football playoff was more challenging. “It was so cold, and we were cheering for empty stands,” Pile said. 

Hegge said the state volleyball game was more difficult for her, because “it’s hard to stay positive when you’re down and you’re against your rivals.”

Despite the struggles of the past season, the cheer team remained optimistic for the upcoming basketball season and competitive cheer season. 

“I would love it if the student section was always packed…,” Kellett said. “I just want them to participate in all the cheers. When everyone’s shouting and encouraging, it gives the team an adrenaline rush that helps the players.”

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About the Contributors
Kinley Harris, Staff Reporter
Hello, I’m Kinley “Ace” Harris and I’m a senior. This will be my second year on staff for the Titan Legacy magazine. I’m on the bowling team, a part of the health academy, and head of the video committee for Young Gifted and Black. I like to write novels and play video games in my spare time. I’m looking forward to seeing how much I’ve grown as a journalist and how much the Legacy staff has grown as a team this year!
Avery Brasfield, Photographer
I feel like my biggest strength as a photographer is passion. I am constantly wanting to learn more and have more experience. I love to spend my time taking photos. I love the feeling of going home and seeing what I captured. Seeing my growth makes me want to strive harder to be better every day. I love being on the sidelines taking everything in. I also love to capture people that don't normally get the recognition they deserve. Showing people someone's personality and who they really are is my favorite.
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