Cheer team wraps up season

December 18, 2020, the cheer team took the mat at state. With a competition season behind them overall and multiple individual awards, the cheer team left in shock after their loss at state. However, head coach Jamie Bunting left proud of what the team accomplished in the competitions prior to state. 

It is hard to see the big picture of our year,” Bunting said. “We had a great competition season. We did so much better than last year. We won an overall and many different individual competition awards that we didn’t get to do the year before. We were fortunate and blessed to get to even have a competition season in this crazy year.” 

With this year being full of COVID-19 complications, the number of people at practices and competitions varied. 

“This year was challenging due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” Bunting said. “We were constantly battling quarantines from PCC and our stunt groups were never consistent.”

Not only did the pandemic affect the number of people on the mat, but essential hours of practice. 

“We didn’t get to do our normal summer skills camp or learn our routine as early as normal,” Bunting said 

The team ended up last place, which came as a surprise to everyone. 

“The results were pretty shocking and disappointing,” senior Libby Hall said. “Sometimes you can put your all towards something and things will end up going different than you planned. It happens, but regardless of the turnout, I don’t regret a single experience I was able to spend with my coaches and teammates.”

The competition at state left less room for error. 

“We knew we could hit our routine, however, when you have falls in cheer there are no make-ups, no redo’s,” Bunting said. “At the 6A level it is very hard to fall and win state, so we were prepared to not be in the top position at awards.”

With a different scoring method, the team was thrown for a loop and falling in the routine did not push the judges in their favor. 

“Cheer is a very subjective sport,” Bunting said. “You get 6 judges’ opinions on a 2 1/2 minute routine. You have to leave no doubt and when you leave the door open with mistakes, it is anyone’s guess as to what they are going to like. I am not pleased with some of the scoring as it is inconsistent with what we have seen, but we learn from that and move on.” 

In the months leading up to state, the team put in hours of both practice and team bonding. 

“We practiced every day, stunted extra during any opportunities we had, had alumni come help out and give feedback, gave Christmas gifts, and played a few games with our stunt group to have some team bonding,” Hall said. 

Overall, the season brought the team closer together.

“I’m going to miss the friendships I’ve made,” Hall said. “Cheer relies so much on chemistry that you create with your teammates. We’ve been through a lot together in the past two years I’ve been apart of this team. I’m thankful for all of the people I got to grow with through my experience on Har-Ber cheer.”

Senior Mary Claire Gill, like Hall, formed may friendships through cheer.  

“What I will miss most about Har-Ber cheer is the friendships i’ve made with my teammates,” Gill said, “my teammates have become a family who I can go to for anything. We are always there to pick each other up, push ourselves to be our best, and make the most out of anything.”

According to Bunting, the seniors this year led the younger cheerleaders by example. 

I think our seniors are excellent cheerleaders as well as people. We have a strong group of girls who are just good people and they tend to lead by example. They have done everything that they could and all that was asked of them,” Bunting said.

As the seniors transition into their lives after high school, Coach Bunting looks forward to a year of redemption with the new group of girls next year. 

“There is so much talent on the team with underclassmen and from what I see our feeder programs have very strong cheerleaders,” Bunting said. “I think they have a new determination and a new understanding of what it will take to win state. The team this year was very young and every year they learn things to help them in the future.”

Overall, the cheer team did not let COVID-19 stand in the way of having a successful season. 

“I am so proud of their hard work and willingness to adapt to change,” Bunting said. “Cheer is a hard sport to just fill in the holes. You have to learn how to stunt and trust each other and when that changes weekly it is hard. These girls came in every day and worked hard. I am proud of them and love all of them.”