Pack cheer teams see big turnoutPublished 6:06pm Monday, August 12, 2013
The turnout for Washington athletics this fall continued to trend upwards as the cheerleading team announced it had 39 JV and varsity girls make the squad this year.
The boost in numbers coincides with the football team’s, which had over 90 athletes show up for camp this year, and cheerleading coaches Anita Cutler and Jenifer Walker were extremely pleased with the amount of girls that showed interest in cheerleading this fall.
“That’s a real good turnout,” said Cutler, a Washington graduate who has coached the varsity cheerleading team for the past nine years. “We should be able to have a strong competitive team. … It’s a couple more than last year and I think we’re in pretty good shape.”
Thanks to the high turnout Washington will be able to field competitive teams on both the JV and varsity levels.
“We haven’t had a JV competition team in about eight years, we’ve had to merge both teams together for competitions,” Walker said. “This is the first year in a long time that we’ve felt like we had strong enough girls and enough talent to compete at both the JV level and the varsity level and we’re excited about that. It makes the program stronger.”
The varsity team consists of 22 girls and is captained by seniors Elizabeth Miller, Grace Giordano, Molly Hodges and Rebecca Omonde.
The quartet has cheered for the past three years and Cutler said they are great cheerleaders and leaders.
“They teach all the material and they help with a lot of administrative things like sorting out the uniforms and creating cheer lists,” Cutler said. “They help the girls that are falling behind and we put a lot of work on them as captains.”
The JV team has 17 athletes on its roster is led by sophomore captain Kaylah Ward.
“She’s shown great leadership,” said Walker, who is also a Washington graduate and has coached the JVs for the past three years. “I think she’s really going to mold these freshmen and help prepare them for varsity.”
Aside from demanding perfect timing and rhythm from their athletes, both Walker and Cutler encourage their team members to strive to be good citizens and classmates.
“We try to coach the whole girl,” Cutler said. “We expect them to represent the team well all the time. We have academic expectations, we want them to have grades of a C or better. We have attendance expectations that if they do not meet they can get dismissed from the team or get put on probation.
“We’re really working with them and trying to guide them through social media and all the dangers that can be found in social media from cyber bullying to just being careful what you put out there.”
Walker agreed and said that the team teaches the athletes to be more well-rounded people.
“My biggest thing that I love to teach the girls is to respect yourself and the school and be proud of yourself,” Walker said. “There are little girls that look up to them so we want them to be role models.”
Some of those little girls will be at Washington High School today for Washington’s annual Little Pack Cheer Camp. The clinic teaches some of the basics of cheerleading and runs from 9 a.m. until noon and the walkup fee to attend the camp is $20.