Recapping the 2018-19 cheer season
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In 2012, the Robinson cheer team won the FHSAA 1A State Finals, and it has been their goal every year since to repeat that success. Last season, the team fell short of qualifying for state finals by just 7/10ths of a point.
Missing out on their chance at states by such a slim margin only made this year’s returning cheerleaders more determined.
“We had a lot of seniors this year,” Head Coach Jeff Melesky said. “A lot of people who had been there [states] before knew what it was about and wanted to get back.”
Personal drama was a reoccurring distraction for the team last year so this season leadership focused on bonding and creating a supportive team culture.
“This year we were closer as a team,” Captain and flyer Sydney Van Aelst (’19) said. “We were a lot more encouraging with each other.”
Returning team members served as mentors for underclassmen, providing encouragement and advice.
“It was really fun getting to know everyone,” Freshman flyer Alison Quigley said. “The friendships I made were really nice.”
The team started strong, scoring the highest that they ever had at a first competition of the season at Spoto on November 27.
Injuries were an unexpected, unwelcome problem for the cheerleaders, who were particularly impacted by the injury of Captain Gaelle Denson in the weeks leading up to states. “It felt like every week someone was out with an injury,” said Van Aelst.
(Read more about how the cheer team coped with injuries in Knight Writers issue 3.)
Denson’s inability to compete presented a challenge for the team, but, ultimately, it wasn’t enough to derail their path to states.
“Every team goes through having injuries and having to overcome them,” Melesky said.
Before they began their routine at states, the cheer team had a suspicion that this competition was going to be special.
“I think usually we’re a lot more nervous, but we got really excited,” Van Aelst said. “I think we all had a good feeling about it.”
They didn’t take home first place, but they still earned a score seven points higher than last time, and received zero deductions.
“We hit everything in our routine, but, adding on to that, we didn’t get any points off,” Van Aelst said. “That’s never happened… it was definitely the best routine we’ve ever had.”
Although the Lady Knights didn’t win the state championship, members of the team are still pleased with their performance.
“We just wanted to hit at states… and I think we did it, ” Quigley said.
Melesky believes that the team has room for improvement, and should set some new goals for next season.
“We don’t tumble as much as other teams so I think we really need to work on that,” he said.
But Melesky remains proud of what Robinson cheer has accomplished.”The last competition
that we did, they left everything on the floor,” he said “That is all that I could ask of them.”
Alanna Felton is a senior and the Editor-in-Chief of the journalism staff. She is also president and founder of the RHS Young Writers’ Club and an officer...