By Derrick Smith
Cheer teams put in a lot of time and effort to prepare for their season. Not only do they cheer on their school’s athletic teams, but they also have their own competitions to get ready for. Liz Mitchell is in her twelfth season leading the Pawnee High School cheer team and she says that her squad does a great job of building their team chemistry, which is reflected on the field.
“Our biggest strength is that we all have the same goals,” she said. “We all work together and no judgment is passed between teammates regardless of grade level or where each of them come from. We pray every practice as a team.”
Senior Victoria Figueroa enjoys being a part of the team and cheering on the Black Bears.
“I love the excitement from the crowd when we are winning and everyone is hyped,” Figueroa said. “It’s the best feeling in the world. I also enjoy my cheer team. I love that we don’t judge each other on where we came from and that we work hard and are dedicated even at five in the morning.”
The work that her squad has paid off as they have won a few awards recently. They won regionals twice and placed in the top three in Class 2A. They also were awarded the Distinguished Academic Achievement Aaward multiple times for being in the top percent of the class academically.
Haley Teter, who is a junior, says that her coach has been a big part of why she enjoys cheering on Pawnee.
“I love cheering on the Black Bears,” she stated. “But, I think what has made me love it so much has a lot to do with Coach Liz. She challenges us to set goals, as an individual and as a team. She pushes us achieve our absolute best, more than we often think we’re capable of, it’s what makes us a good squad.”
As she enters her final high school cheer season, Te’a Tahchawwickah says that it has been everything she imagined.
“Cheering for the Pawnee black bears has had to be the highlight of my senior year. Being able to hype our team up and getting to spend time at the games are truly what I love to do. I could have not asked for a better team then the one I have now.”