Cheer Team Prepares for Nationals

February 2, 2022

Susquehannock’s competition cheer team is preparing to compete at nationals in Disney this month.

After receiving a score of 86 out of 100 points at their regional competition in December, the team received a bid and will compete at the high school national competition in Florida from Feb. 11-13.

This is Susquehannock’s competition cheer team. Photograph Courtesy of @suskycheer via Instagram

Danielle Robson, one of the team’s coaches, was elated at the team’s ratings.

“We had heard from a bunch of people that you needed to hit 70 points to get a bid to nationals,” Robson said. “When we got their scoresheet before we found out that they made it to nationals, we saw that they hit an 86. So we were really excited, but also just kind of in disbelief because this is a really big deal for our program.”

Senior flyer Alli Walker was surprised at receiving a bid to nationals.

“I knew we had a great team, but this being our first time competing, I wasn’t expecting much,” Walker said. “But considering the fact that we got a bid to nationals, I think that this is a really good foundation for [us]. It felt like all the hard work that we spent months and months practicing these routines all paid off.”

Robson’s reaction to the team’s success in competition differed from the girl’s reactions.

“I was not surprised just because I know how talented they are, but I think the girls were really surprised,” Robson said. “This is the first time that we’ve ever really done something like this, so it’s been a new adventure for us. We’ve had a lot to learn [but] the girls get better every week.”

The team is competing one last time in Lancaster on Feb. 5 before their national competition in Disney from Feb. 11-13.

Robson stressed the difference of competition cheer from the sideline cheering that the student body is used to seeing.

“The style of cheerleading that they have to do for competition is very different from [what our student body is used to seeing us do at football and basketball games],” Robson said. “This is more to music, it’s a 2-3 minute routine that they practice over and over again. Practices are just a little bit more intense, a little bit more taxing for them.”

The cheer team has put extensive work into learning this new style of cheering. Despite these challenges, the team has been successful.

Walker is looking forward to the competition and being able to grow and represent Susky. 

“Thousands and thousands of people will be in this arena, but I’m really excited to show what Susky Cheer has got and represent our school,” Walker said. “And this is an opportunity for our team to grow together as well.”

Sophomore flyer Lauren Staub details the cheer team’s hectic practice schedule.

“We practice six out of seven days a week,” Staub said. “On school [days] we have either a game or practice at night, comp[etition] practices are three hours long, and we have Sunday practices too now.”

Despite the stress of taxing practices, Walker enjoys the relationship she has with her team.

“It’s a lot, and it’s a lot of moving parts, [practices] are very busy and sometimes stressful,” Walker said. “But we have a lot of laughs, and we have a lot of fun in between.”

The cheer team gathers together at their regional competition where they received a bid to nationals. Photograph Courtesy of @suskycheer via Instagram

Walker details how the bond of the team has been different because of competing together. 

“I think this is the closest we’ve ever been, part of the reason being that we’re competing,” Walker said. “It’s a lot of extra time together, and we’re really excited to do something more on our own.”

Staub appreciates the bond her and her teammates share this year.

“I’ve cheered with some of these girls before, but I’ve never been this close with a team before,” Staub said. “There’s [so much] connection, and we all just click with each other, so it’s really nice.”

Robson’s history with Susky cheer has brought her here to be a part of the team once again.

“I cheered for Susquehannock when I was in high school,” Robson said. “So this is kind of a full-circle moment for me, getting to be back where I started and kind of carry on that legacy. I also just love getting to know the girls, getting to watch them learn to do something that they love.”

Robson explains her close connections to the athletes that she coaches.

The cheer team smiles at a competition in Dallastown where they won first place. Photograph Courtesy of @suskycheer via Instagram

“I’m obsessed with them. I actually coached all of them starting in seventh grade,” Robson said. “They work so hard, they’re such a tight-knit group, they’re like sisters, and I love spending time with them.”

Walker describes her similar devotion for her team.

“I really love cheering with my best friends and the coaching staff is phenomenal here,” Walker said. “My coaches are the most hardworking people I know, and my captains provide so many good ideas and they provide so much support for our team. [This season] could be the last time I cheer, so it’s a lot of pressure to do my best, but I’m also really excited that I get to be spending it with my best friends.”

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