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Oct. 14, 2004

Pumping it up: JV cheerleaders are back at Blair

by Diana Frey, Page Editor
After lacking a junior varsity cheerleading squad for the last two years, Blair has finally created a new JV squad of nine girls.

Having a JV squad, in essence, means more preparation for competing at a varsity level. “It helps prepare [the students] for strenuous practices in varsity," says JV cheerleading coach Jeanette Simmons. In previous years, many of the new girls had never had experience cheering. With the creation of the new JV team, extra focus can be put on thoroughly learning cheers without the pressures of varsity cheerleaders' schedules.

Freshman Keshia McIlwain, a JV cheerleader, decided to try out after hearing about the squad from her middle school. “I wanted to try something new and use my energy," says McIlwain.

McIliwain is a good example of how the new squad has opened up more opportunities for people interested in cheering for the first time. Most high schools typically have varsity and junior varsity cheerleading squads. According to Roxanne Fus, the coach of the varsity squad, Blair did have a JV team a few years ago, but due to scheduling inconveniences, it became easier just to have one squad. Because Simmons showed an interest in coaching a JV squad, Blair was able to have both JV and varsity cheerleading again this year.

The inexperienced JV squad has made leaps of progress since practices began just a week before the school year started. “Within a month, the girls have improved tremendously," says Simmons.

Many measures were taken to make sure that the squad began with a solid start. The varsity team helped with the JV tryouts, teaching some of the cheers to the new squad. According to Simmons, the girls already look like they have been cheering for three or four months, rather than a month and a half. Simmons also has plans for the future to ensure the success of the squad. She wants the team to attend cheerleading workshops together so that they can learn from professionals.

JV Captain JoAnne Rogers has also used her cheerleading experience to help make sure the JV girls are off to a good start even though, at times, being a captain can be challenging. Compared to varsity, “many cheers take a whole lot longer to learn," says Rogers. “We have to learn everything." As frustrating a process as starting from scratch can be, having a new squad will help varsity improve as well. “When they reach varsity, they will be prepared and able to participate fully from the get-go," says Rogers.

All of the achievements made by the squad thus far were under far-from-ideal conditions. “There’s not enough places to practice," says Rogers. JV can only hold a one-hour practice before the varsity squad needs to use the room for their two-hour practice. “The way it was explained to me was that we only have a game every other week, so we don’t need to practice as much as varsity," explains Rogers. The cheerleaders also need to trade rooms with Poms once a week so that the only room with mirrors that enhance practice is shared.

Apart from the challenges the squad must overcome, there are also many positive things that come from being a part of the new JV squad. “You meet a lot of new people and make a lot of new friends," says freshman squad member Brittany Howard. She says that everyone on the squad has bonded and is kind towards each other.

Besides being positive, the JV cheerleaders are very serious as they set their goals for the rest of the season. “We might be a little less advanced, but our goal is to look neat, clean and concise," states Rogers. She also says that the squad has been trying really hard to support each other through this time of learning. “I think we’re doing good because everyone’s working together, and we’re learning what varsity did last year," agrees McIliwain. Even though the new team only has four home games on their schedule so far, it looks like the JV squad is here to stay.



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  • clair on October 15, 2004
    diana is amazing
  • hah on October 15, 2004
    clair and diana are both losers
  • hah=loser on October 16, 2004
    what kind of loser insults someone they don't know?
  • the last here post here guy on October 16, 2004
    and yes, I realize the irony
  • strait up trippin' (View Email) on October 17, 2004
    dont hate on diana, shes awesome. great job
  • me on October 18, 2004
    Varisty cheerleaders are of the chains this year. Good job Monique, Aerial, Aynalem and Tamia. You hooked them up like them Bring it On chicks!!!!! We might actually win this year. We only come to the football games to see ya'll anyway. Any ta'll are actually doing something worth seeing.
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