By Hannah Wolfe
Cougar News Blog
On Friday, March 28, Cactus Canyon Junior High cheerleaders traveled to Coolidge Ariz. for the Desert Middle School Athletic League cheer competition and came out victorious with their fourth consecutive first-place finish.
The cheerleaders practiced for about 50 hours to perfect their five-minute routine. They changed the routine twice, and often practiced until about 6 or 7 p.m. to prepare.
Coach Cathy Messenger said she is proud that the squad was able to win the league again, but she’s even more proud of how the team grew during the season.
“Most people think the best part would be winning the cheer competition, but that’s not really it,” said Messenger, who has been coach cheer for 11 years. “I would have to say it’s seeing your team be successful, watching them grow from the very beginning of tryout to competition day, and making tremendous accomplishments. It brings me to tears when they finally realize what they are made of and just how great they are.”
Messenger said the work the team did shows how difficult cheer is.
“There is so much to cheer, and it tends to be an unappreciated sport. So many people think cheer is easy and, boy, are they wrong,” said Messenger. “Anyone who thinks it’s easy, I dare them to come to our practices. My girls have had concussions, fallen from mid air, practice for seven hours straight, and they do it with a smile on their face.”
The cheerleaders also cheered for the football team during football season and are now cheering for the basketball team.
“My favorite thing is being able to inspire and lead the younger cheerleaders to work hard next year and be good examples for future cheerleaders,” said eighth grade cheerleader Trinity Izbicki.