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Cheer camps valuable for reaching potential

Staff writer

Adriana Newman’s day during Peabody-Burns’ cheerleading camp begins early, with a 5:30 a.m. trip to the weight room.

“If I wasn’t lifting I wouldn’t be able to throw my girls up,” she said. “That’s really important. No one hears about the work we put in throughout the summer, but we’re really focused on building for the next year.”

For Newman and the rest of the Warriors, weightlifting has been vital for building the strength needed to pull off cheer stunts.

“We don’t have a lot of big girls,” she said. “We have to get strong to be able to support our girls.”

The Warriors are holding their cheer camp this week to learn new stunts and cheers. The Hillsboro squad is using its camp to focus solely on stunts.

Working on stunts over the summer is best because there are other distractions during the school year, said Rylee Yoder, who helps Hillsboro cheerleaders with stunt routines.

“When the school year starts they don’t have a lot of time to work on stunts,” she said. “They have a bunch of new girls, and this gives them two hours each morning to focus on new stunts.”

Yoder teaches the girls to perform skills in different ways, which helps when someone is absent, and increases confidence, Paulus said.

“It’s very interactive and we’re all welcome to speak,” she said. “That helps us build a better bond and be safer. We feel like we can speak up if something doesn’t feel right.”

Many of the Trojans cheer during football and basketball, which creates deeper unity within the team, Paulus said.

“It’s a longer commitment, but it lets us progress more as a team,” she said. “If it was separated into two teams we wouldn’t have been able to put up the stuff we did last year. It was something that took those full five months.”

While Newman only cheers during the football season, she said performing the team both seasons in the past allowed her to build a foundation with her Peabody-Burns teammates.

“It helps because then you already know,” she said. “You’re not re-teaching.”

That dedication helped the Peabody-Burns team double its members since coach Denae Kyle started five years ago.

“We had five or six per squad and now we’re up to 10,” she said. “It’s huge. The more you can do, the more fundamentals you can do and more opportunities there are.”

While cheerleading is one of the few high school sports in Kansas without sanctioned competitions, Paulus finds that lack of competition refreshing.

“It makes a healthier environment,” she said. “It’s something that isn’t stressful at all, but we get to be active and a part of the school.”

Last modified June 13, 2019

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