Third time’s the charm

Cheer prepares for state championship

Natalie Edmonds, staff writer

As September nears, the cheer team prepares to snag its third consecutive state title.

Ending 2018 with a second state title and a National Championship, cheer is back and ready for more. With new team members and a target on their back, the girls are ready to have their best year yet. 

“We’ve always coached on the strategy of doing your best to make every skill in the routine hit, no mistakes, AKA ‘hitting zero’,” head coach Mandy Gerszewski said. “We never get out on the mat just to win. There is so much more to our program than winning a championship.”

Cheer came out on top over Claremore, Carl Albert and other competitive 5A schools to be named reigning state champs. That victory created a heavy reputation that will make this year’s state competition challenging. With this in mind, cheer is working harder than ever before.

“I think the most significant moment was winning state in 2018 because it was the second year in a row, and no one thought we could repeat and bring home another title, especially since we had more competition and a target on our backs,” senior cheer captain Holly Danner said. “We proved a lot of people wrong and, most importantly, we did it together.”

As the majority of the state team, the underclassmen especially are feeling the pressure to step it up to bring home another win. 

    “Being a freshman on the state cheer team can be super stressful because you’re at the bottom of the chain, and you don’t want to be that one girl who messes everything up for everyone else,” freshman Natalie Waddell said. “When we’re running sections or doing stunts, it can be a lot of pressure knowing the fact that you can make a mistake, and you don’t always have the platform [the older girls have] since it’s your first year.” 


    This team is no stranger to trials, facing several injuries and team adjustments. With two cheerleaders injured with concussions and the constant risk of more girls getting hurt, the girls have learned to rely on each other to achieve their final goal.


“As an individual, I think that I’ve become a more patient and encouraging person,” Danner said.

“The team has grown tremendously going from third place to State Champions and pushing each other harder than the year before by holding higher expectations for ourselves and each other.”


The OSSAA Cheer State Competition will be held Sept. 28 at the Oral Roberts Mabee Center in Tulsa.


“And yes, now the pressure is really on because people are expecting it, that is definitely not our teaching philosophy in the practice room,” Gerszewski said. “We work the skills we are capable of hitting while trying to make it look effortless. Hitting a solid routine is ALWAYS our No. 1 goal.”