If you have attended a few Oak Ridge High School football games this year, a couple of things stand out. First, we always win halftime – the Oak Ridge Band and Color Guard and Liberty Belles blow every other school out of the water. The second? Our cheerleaders are better than your cheerleaders. And we don’t mean that they’re prettier than everyone else (that’s a given). They are more enthusiastic, more athletic, better choreographed, and more together than cheerleading squads of other schools. Hands down. And they have way better smiles.
Now they are winning the hardware to back up those claims. Both the Oak Ridge varsity and JV/freshman cheerleading teams excelled in the Universal Cheerleaders Association (UCA) Regionals this past weekend: the varsity picked up the coveted first-place trophy, and the JV/freshman team placed second in three events. Their success was the result of months of practice and dedication, both by the girls and their coaches.
Varsity has been preparing for this competition since last year. The team attended tumbling classes all summer, and slowly started putting their routine together in August. These girls practice during cheer class as well as two extra practices a week at Woodlands Elite, going full out each time, leaving nothing untouched. They have been a family since the beginning, crushing their competition at camp and dominating the floor ever since. Their motto this year is #oneteamonedream.
Coach Sarah Parker is excited about the prospects for this year’s cheer team, “I truly feel like this is the year, and this is the team that will take Oak Ridge Cheer to the next level. We received our highest scores in three years, and would have easily made it to finals last year with these scores. We were the first team who competed, so who knows? We could have scored even higher. We are taking it one step at a time. This first place win has been exactly what this team needed. Every day is a new day, and anything can happen at competition. As long as these girls did their best, it is all that truly matters. Not only did we walk away with first place and our heads held high, but we received our bid to compete at Nationals.”
Coach Parker added, “We have been to this competition three times now- second place in 2010, second place in 2011, and finally bringing home first place in 2012, even beating out a team who placed second at Nationals last year. For the past two years, the team seemed to always fall short, whether it was a dropped stunt, missed tumbling, or a pyramid that didn’t hit. We placed third at state last year, and didn’t make it past the prelims at Nationals. These girls are competing with teams who have won National Championships for years in a row, with schools who have been competing since the early 90’s. Oak Ridge Varsity are the new kids in town, and we are hoping to make our school proud.”
In order to better prepare the cheer program for competition, the cheer staff decided to have the JV and freshman squads compete at the UCA Regionals this year. They combined the two teams, and they’ve been practicing for about three weeks together, preparing for the meet. Many of the members of the combined JV/freshman squad are new cheerleaders for Oak Ridge, and several have never competed, so this was a new experience all the way around.
Coaches Courtney Currie and Sarah Mayfield collaborated to develop routines that would work best for the combined group. The JV/freshman team competed in the Game Time category, bringing three routines to the table – Fight Song, Time Out Cheer, and Time Out Dance. After suffering a few setbacks, the coaches and team pulled together and were able to bring home second place in all three categories.
So what’s next for Oak Ridge Cheer? They have the Cheer Power Christmas Championships coming up on December 8. and return to the Southwest Texas UCA State competition on January 20. The National High School Cheerleading competition is held February 9-10.
We are all well aware of how good the Oak Ridge cheer teams are. Now the rest of the world is finding out what we have known for a while.
Below is a video of the varsity team’s first-place floor routine. Below that are photos from the competition. The varsity team is in black, with the JV/freshman team in blue.