Champs overcome roadblocks

Building a well-choreographed competition routine involves every single cheerleader.  

If one or more members of the squad is not able to attend, then the whole routine has to be restaged and the pyramids must be reworked. It is kind of like dominos, if you take one piece out, the rest does not work.

That was what the Oak Harbor High School cheer squad learned as the team prepared for Saturday’s competition at the Decatur Classic at Decatur High School in Federal Way.  

At the beginning of the week, the Wildcat cheerleaders learned that three of their key teammates were suspended from the squad so the entire routine was reworked. Then, a day before the competition, one of the primary flyers was unable to compete.

To redo the routine with only two hours of practice left on Friday seemed nearly impossible, but the team never gave up.

Any other squad would have probably not attended the competition — but not Oak Harbor.  

Despite the overwhelming challenge to redo the routine and teach new people to learn to fly in some of the stunts, others had to learn new dance moves and everyone had to memorize new positions and new counts for the two-and-a-half- minute routine.

When all was said and done, the OHHS cheerleaders made it happen.  

“I wanted the cheerleaders to learn that when they are faced with a challenge that they cannot quit. They need to persevere instead,” coach Pam Headridge said. “Life is always throwing obstacles in our way but these young adults needed to understand that they can get great satisfaction out of working their way through the process. Practice on Friday was a concentrated effort of teamwork — working their way through the routine step by step until everyone understood their new positions.”

The Oak Harbor team was last up in their division, competing against four other teams from  Olympic, Kent Meridian, North Thurston and Highline high schools.  

Not only did the Wildcats perform a near flawless routine, they also won first place with a score of 258 out of 300.

The team’s next competition is the annual Spiritfest at Oak Harbor High School Saturday, Feb. 9, beginning at 9 a.m.

Everyone is invited to see these championship cheerleaders and see what competition cheerleading is all about. Fifteen schools and 13 clubs will be attending this event.    

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