The smell of makeup and hair spray floods the hallways of Crystal Lake Central High School. These are smells that all cheerleaders are used to. As the Huntley High School varsity cheerleading team lines up in between the bright orange ropes, they can no longer control their nerves.
“We were worried during warm ups that we were going to be tired, but we pulled through and I think we did well,” said junior Rachel Andros.
As the rest of the team takes their place in the middle of the mat, Andros and her long time friend junior Alexandra Shafer start off in the back corners of the nine-panel mat. The two girls open up the routine with the same tumbling pass round-off, flip flop, arabian step out, round-off, flip flop, full.
“My tumbling and stunting are definitely my two strengths,” said Shafer.
Having six fulls, five layouts, and seven specialty passes thrown in the first 30 seconds of their routine, the more difficult tumbling was over with.
“I think that out tumbling really pulled through today,” said varsity head coach Kimberlee Hoffmann. “I also think our motions were pretty solid.”
Hoffmann and her assistant coach Renee Fowler decided to have only 20 girls compete, with only 20 girls, they were able to put up five stunts, which is the maximum they can do. A switch up to scorpion is a pretty difficult skill for some teams to hit, but Huntley did it flawlessly. After five in sync full downs, the girls changed positions to finish off their stunts.
“Our stunts and our pyramid are two things we definitely need to work on for next competition,” said Hoffmann.
As the fliers flipped forward, the team did synchronized round-off back tucks, which is a pretty big bonus since they all did it. The five baskets that went were one of the things that may have hurt them in this competition. They had three hitch kick singles, one kick single, and one single twisting basket, if they would have all done the same basket, it could have helped their score just a little bit.
“The main thing we need to work on is our confidence, and believing that we can do it,” said Shafer. “I think every year we think really highly of ourselves and then something happens and it discourages us. We just have to stay confident.”
With the rest of the team cheering them on, the girls start the pyramid off really well. There was only one small bobble in the pyramid and the rest of it was solid. The girls all smiled because they knew they only had one part left, the dance.
“Our biggest challenge for this competition was all of the injuries that we have had,” said Hoffmann. “We have a broken leg, two other fractures, and an arm injury.”
As the dance ends, the girls hugged each other and knew that they did very well. When the last team finished all of the teams gather in the middle of the mat for awards. Before they get their placement, the team dances and sings to blank space by Taylor Swift and Cupid Shuffle by Cupid. The girls all circle up and senior Sydney Branch gets in the middle and begins the dance to Single Ladies by Beyoncé.
When the girls all take a seat, the announcer began to announce the places. Crystal Lake South came in fifth place, Crystal Lake Central in fourth, Huntley in third, Wheaton North in second, and Stevenson in first.
Although some of the girls may have been disappointed in third place, it is not a bad place to be in considering there were 16 teams at this competition. On a more positive note, the teams that beat Huntley are not in the Fox Valley Conference, so we are the best in our conference right now.
“I think when it comes down to competition, each and every one of them does their job, and they do it very well,” said Hoffmann.