Bending over backwards for competitive cheer

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The Etowah competitive cheer team is making a comeback for the 2021 season, and sideline cheer coach, Kristen Morris, is more than happy to add the title of head coach to her coaching resume. Etowah had a competitive cheer team until the 2017 season when the program disbanded.  

I wanted to bring back comp cheer for the girls. There is so much talent in the Etowah zone, and it’s our time to shine again. Competition is healthy for athletesand these cheerleaders have the right to show everything they are capable of on the biggest stage for high school cheer. As a 7A school, we certainly have the roster to be great,” Morris said. 

Other than athletic skills, all athletes on the team must commit to the strenuous schedule. There will be spring practices, summer practices, choreography camps, and stunt camps. The team will also host a kids camp to raise moneyBeginning in August, the team will practice three days a week. 

The requirements for competition cheer are different from sideline. Because the girls are competing, there are necessary requirements that must be met in order to try out and make the team. Girls must be able to tumble with a minimum requirement of a back handspring. The girls must also be able to do a three-jump combo consisting of three different jumps. Stunting is a must, as well,” Morris said. 

Actual tryouts will take place on Thursday, March 25 after school in the Old Gym of Etowah High School At tryouts, cheerleaders will be judged on stunts, tumbling, dance skills, and enthusiasm. 

Spirit and enthusiasm are just as important as someone being able to stunt and tumble. As part of the routine, the girls must perform a chant and dance along with stunting and tumbling. If you can do the hardest form of tumbling, but not smile and look like you are having fun, then it will show. To build a solid team and family, every aspect must be fulfilled,” Morris said. 

Due to COVID-19, all cheerleaders will be screened before clinics and tryouts. Masks and social distancing is highly encouraged, and if any cheerleaders have symptoms of COVID-19, they should stay home. Results will be posted on Friday, March 26. A welcome meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, April 13, and two weeks later, on April 28, the team will be fitted for uniforms and gear. 

COVID-19 is tricky moving forward. As more restrictions are lifted, I am hoping that our season will be as normal as possible. I am excited that we even get a season,” Morris said. 

Morris is working towards creating a powerful, hardworking team to bounce back from the loss of the squad in 2017For more information, follow @etowahcompcheer on Instagram.