Loud and Proud
Posting their highest score of the season, Cheer team had their best performance of the year at Niles West this past Saturday, hitting every stunt.
In the week between the Huntley competition on Jan. 21 and the Niles West one, “we changed formations and increased difficulty so that our score could be raised but we could stay clean as a team in our performance,”sophomore flyer Niki Vujcic said. “We added a stunt where we switch legs from the ground up. We added a heel stretch and successfully did a full-around in extension” where the whole group moves while one flyer is elevated.
“I think our energy we had before the end of the routine, during the dance, showed all of the sassiness we try to bring to the mat,” Vujcic said. “We were all really proud of ourselves and it pushes us to push for bigger goals next year.”
After each competition, using the judges’ feedback, the team added additional elements such as tumbling to their routine to improve it and make it more challenging. Even though the early competition season required lots of revising and practicing to improve their routine, the team felt satisfied “knowing that everyone did the best they could and that they ‘left everything on the mat’ which is our way of saying ‘give 110%,’” senior base Zenaida Chavez said.
Cheerleading as a whole is a very complex sport, so Maine West needs adaptive players involved. The West team is coed and competes with a routine that includes a series of dancing and tumbling that demands a lot from each person in competitions and practices. “One time, I didn’t set for the backflip correctly. I jumped in the air, but midway through, I stopped rotating and ended up dropping on my head. It was really funny to me, but most of my coaches and teammate thought I broke my neck,” senior backspot Stanislaw Ezlakowski said. It is all about trial and error when learning new things, but just like in any competition, there is no second chance.
As the season comes to an end, the team will have their last chances to work with the five seniors. Chavez highlighted what she’ll miss most: “I’ll miss the coaches and all that they have done for me and my team because we all felt like a family. It’s going to be hard to break away from that.”