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WJ Cheerleading: They Didn’t Just Win a Championship

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On Nov. 16, WJ cheerleaders made history by bringing home first place at the Montgomery County Division III Championships. But they didn’t just win a trophy;  they won the respect of fellow students and the varsity cheerleading coach, Kirsten Smith.

“It was the most amazing feeling that we got to bring home a victory,” said senior captain Gabbi Kandero. “[But] before I know we were really nervous, especially the seniors…because we wanted to leave [behind]… a legacy.”

Sophomore Morgan Grizzle added that they also really wanted to place this year, as Smith calls them her “dream team.”

“[WJ cheerleading has] reached the highest level of technical ability… [and has] been able to do things above…[my] expectations this year,” said Smith.

According to Kandero, their stunting skills have improved to the point where none of them fell during competition, in addition to their basket tosses being higher and their flips cleaner.

Given that they spend so much time with each other at practice making the magic happen, it makes sense that the team is like a family. But like any other cohesive group that spends hours hard at work together each week, tension is not unheard of.

Practicing cheer routines requires endlessly running them over and over again, which can be frustrating and tedious, especially if one just isn’t hitting something correctly.

“We’re such perfectionists, [that] we really want it to look good [and get it right],” said Grizzle.

Another thing that bonds them together, besides their perfectionism, is that they love what they do. Kandero always wanted to be a cheerleader, and has always loved to dance. By nature, she has always been very spirited and optimistic.  Grizzle was first drawn to cheerleading in eighth grade, and also had a background in dance. While many friends tried out for the Pompons, something about cheerleading drew Grizzle to it.

While WJ Cheerleading experienced great success this season, they look to improve further in future years.

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WJ Cheerleading: They Didn’t Just Win a Championship