Cheerleading: going beyond traditional high school sport

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Everyone at North Harford has seen our school cheerleaders at every home football game. However, some students at NH elect not to participate in the high school cheer program and instead compete with private cheer squads.  Junior Kaitlyn Bryan is one such student.

Bryan competes in Lunar All-star Cheerleading and Dance. Lunar is a competitive cheer team that’s been active for only 11 months. Lunar travels to many different states, including Florida, Virginia, Ocean City, Rhode Island and other states along the East Coast, to compete against other teams. This is Bryan’s first year cheering with Lunar and although it’s hard work, she’s loving it. “It’s very hard but we are all so close so it’s very fun,” exclaimed Bryan.

Before Bryan cheered with Lunar, she cheered with Spirit Cheer Shock for three years. The owner of Lunar used to own Spirit Cheer Shock, before she switched to Lunar and Bryan followed her lead. Even though Lunar and Spirit Cheer Shock are both competitive cheer teams, Lunar is much more serious since Lunar is a level four team. Bryan explained, “My coach is a perfectionist so she wants everything to be perfect, so we are constantly working on different things and have three hour practices. It’s her first year so she wants us to be amazing.”

North Harford’s cheerleading and Lunar All-star are similar because they both compete against different teams, however the level of competitiveness is the main difference between the teams. “Because we are an all-star team I feel as if we are very, very, very serious about it because it’s $4000 person.” Bryan respects the school cheer team, but she doesn’t try out because she doesn’t like the schedule and she has a closer relationship with the people on Lunar.

Bryan takes her cheering very seriously, but like every athlete, she has her strengths and weaknesses. Bryan stated that her strengths are definitely her tumbling and energy. “My weakness is the conditioning because my coach just makes it so hard,” admitted Bryan. With every weakness comes a way to overcome it and Bryan tries to improve her weakness by working out outside of cheer.

Bryan’s biggest pet peeve when it comes to cheerleading is when people believe cheerleading isn’t a sport. By definition, a sport must involve forcing a mass through space, competing other teams and defines the rules of time space and purpose. Cheerleading meets all of those requirements. “It 100% is a sport and it is very difficult because you are working all the muscles in your body,” explained Bryan.


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Cheerleading: going beyond traditional high school sport