Novice cheer team prepares

We want a touchdown right now!

Many of the girls are unfamiliar with what it’s like to be on the sidelines at a football game wearing cheerleaders’ uniforms and carrying pom-poms.

Despite being inexperienced, their exuberance is overwhelming and coach Kerri Brown said she has 47 girls signed up to cheer for the Oak Harbor Youth Football teams this season.

“We are hoping to eventually have 50 or more girls on the team and I think we’ll have that many,” Brown said.

Fifty girls with little or no cheerleading experience may seem like a lot for one coach to handle, but Brown explained there are seven teams in the league and the girls will be divided into squads for each team.

“There are two pee-wee teams, two midget teams, two junior teams and one senior team in the league so we’ll have seven separate cheerleading squads,” Brown said. “What we’ll do is practice together for three days and then divide the girls up into squads with their own coaches.”

Under a cabana on a rainy Wednesday evening at Fort Nugent Park, Brown was handing out the snazzy blue and white uniforms to some of the girls, making sure everyone was outfitted properly and had the right size, and the girls’ shining faces left no doubt they were ready to begin cheering right then and there.

Nine-year-old Brianna Baeyen said she has never been a cheerleader before so she was particularly excited.

“It’s going to be fun,” she said.

“This is her first experience cheerleading, but her sister has done it for many years,” her mother, Linda, said.

Deja Bunch, also age 9, said she is also cheering for the very first time, and echoed Brianna’s words about having fun this year.

Brown said team practice begins Monday, July 23, and will continue through Wednesday, July 25.

“After that, we will divide the girls up and they will have their own practice schedules,” she said.

The Oak Harbor youth football teams play games in Mount Vernon, Sedro-Woolley, in the Seattle area and on Orcas Island, so the girls will have the opportunity to travel. Home games are played at Fort Nugent Park.

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