New year, same routine

Cheerleading starts season undefeated, on fire headed into states


photo by Sharon Sheridan

The squad’s finishing pose at the end of their performance at the 2021 Husky Cheer Challenge.

On Friday, Jan. 8, the Hagerty competitive cheerleading team made the two hour drive to Hudson to participate in the 2021 FHSAA Large Varsity Regionals. Last year, the same event left a sour taste in their mouth due to their loss to Bartram Trail.  

That loss to Bartram Trail in 2020 is still fresh in their mind, but after a win at UCA Regionals in December, they are motivated and confident in their upcoming rematch against Bartram Trail. 

COVID-19 protocols and event cancellations led to a shorter schedule. However, the team was still able to perform, scoring an 82.8 at regionals, edging out Bartram Trail, West Orange and Lake Mineola. 

This is their first regional title since 2018 and fifth regional championship in school history.

“Last year when we felt robbed at states it motivated us to win nationals [last year] and today we felt that feeling again because it was our last shot, even though it seemed impossible,” senior Hannah Roberts said.

The cheerleaders’ victory did not deter them from preparation for the 10th Husky Cheer Challenge. 

The program made a less than 12 hour turnaround in Oviedo to set up and run their competition the next morning by setting up matts, scheduling the day, and managing session sizes.

The team would then score an 88, edging out Harmony and West Orange. But even after an undefeated weekend, head coach Terri King is keeping the squad grounded in preparation for the FHSAA Finals at the RP Funding Center in Lakeland. 

The event allowed them to experience their first true crowd this year. Due to COVID-19, only the teams’ individual fans are able to spectate the performances. But with six separate performing sessions, with six schools spectating at a time to limit the gym’s capacity, the cheerleaders had a taste of what reality once was. 

“I think [our score] was because of the atmosphere, because we haven’t gotten that packed crowd atmosphere that we’ve been missing that we’re used to,” Downing said. “It’s really awesome to be able to have people in front of us cheering us on.”

With their regional victory, it will carry the team straight to the state finals, passing other rounds of competition. 

The state championships will be hosted at the RP Funding Center in Lakeland on Jan. 22-23. UCA National dates are still to be determined.