Cheer team places fourth at UIL state contest


Kate Knauff

Junior Reece Hajek (left), sophomore Addison Carter (middle) and senior Avery Yabrough (right) are hoisted in the air by their bases during the pyramid section of their after-school practice on Jan. 20.

The cheer team competed at UIL Spirit State Contest on Jan. 15 and placed fourth, beating the previous team record of 10th place.

“[After placing fourth], it was just electric,” JV cheer coach Sarah Adams said. “I was shaking, and I had goosebumps. The kids were pumped. After they placed, there were tears from everyone because it was just emotional.”

Scoring is based on three categories: crowd-leading, band dance and fight song. On top of placing fourth overall, the team also placed first in band dance and fight song, the two music pieces that are scored together at finals.

“I thought it was awesome that we had the highest score for our band chant and fight song together in the state of Texas,” Adams said.

To prepare for the competition, the UIL team had been practicing almost every day until 4 p.m., even coming in over winter break. The team also spent time mentally preparing for the event and growing closer to one another.

“I feel like a lot of people at Hebron don’t appreciate cheer, but I think this was a good way to show that we are good and capable of [succeeding],” co-captain Avery Yarbrough said. “We love cheering for football and basketball, but I feel like a lot of people may not see all the work we put into our other performances. I am just glad that we were able to accomplish this and hopefully instill some determination in the next few [teams].”

The team was made up of 30 cheerleaders with three alternates. All of the varsity cheerleaders were on the team and tryouts were held to decide who made the UIL team from the JV and freshman squads.

“This year, I think the reason we did so well was because of the bond the team had,” Yarbrough said. “There was no drama or negative energy, and the environment was just positive all the time, which is not something that is easily expected because we are practicing every single day after school.”

This weekend, the cheer competition team will be performing at the National Cheerleaders Association competition, showing off a two-and-half-minute routine similar to their pep rally routines that are designed to display more difficult skills than at UIL.

“I just want to hit the routine — it doesn’t really matter what place we get,” senior co-captain Grace Drummond said. “I just want to show off the hard work we all put in when we were up at the school when no one else was here and putting in the effort to get the recognition we deserve.”