The Douglas Bearcats cheer squad ended Wyoming Sports with a bang.
In what would be the last Wyoming High School Activities Association sporting event for the foreseeable future due to COVID-19 sweeping the nation, the cheer team represented Douglas well carrying away a third-place trophy in the Gameday Routine category and placed fifth in the 4A division of the Co-Ed Stunt of the 2020 WHSAA State Spirit Competition.
“We walked away very proud of ourselves,” first-year head coach Ashley Higgens said. “Each kid on my team was extremely proud of their performance, they’ve worked really hard to hit some of those harder stunts that they hadn’t been hitting in the weeks beforehand but were able to pull off that day and they were ecstatic when they walked off the mat.
“We went out there and did the best that we could, and to walk away with the fifth place in a 4A division that’s fantastic for a small school like Douglas.”
It was the perfect way to end the seniors’ careers, said captains Jaedyn Miller and Colson Webster.
“Considering everything that happened throughout the year and even just the state season alone, I’m so proud of my team’s performance,” Miller said. “I advised them to leave everything on the mat. All the tears, injuries and frustrations and they did just that. Every single member gave it their all.”
It was a long day for everyone involved. The two performances were separated by over four hours, and results weren’t announced until well past 9 p.m.
After all of the teams were done performing, they were all called down to the floor separated in circles sitting down and dancing to the music blaring from the loudspeakers in the Casper Events Center while the judges made their final calculations.
It was already a joyful atmosphere, but when the Bearcats were announced as the third place finishers, the team lost it.
There were smiles, tears and shouts of excitement as they awaited their trophy to be delivered to them.
“We were not expecting it!” Webster said. “It was crazy, we were just hoping for the best. Hearing our name was a blessing, I was bawling! We were definitely surprised and it was a moment that will definitely never leave my memory.”
“At first, I couldn’t believe it,” Miller continued. “Then the whole team stood up and started cheering. It was like the weight of every single exhausting practice and the stress we felt beforehand was finally lifted. I remember looking at everyone and laughing and crying at the same time. It was so positively overwhelming and unforgettable.”
Outside of team accomplishments, the Bearcats also featured three all-state cheerleaders.
Webster was joined by juniors Heather Christenson and Stephanie Witbrod on the floor as the Wyoming all-state team was honored and performed a routine.
The team is selected by the 4A school coaches after each girl is given a chance to try out. During the try outs, that were held back in December, the cheerleaders must perform a cheer, a dance, tumbling and jumps.
“It felt wonderful,” Webster recollected. “All-state is different in cheer from other sports, you have to actually try out and learn multiple things, so to be chosen means a lot. It feels rewarding after all the hard work you put in through the season.”
All in all it was a successful first season for Higgens and memorable last year for the seniors.
“It’s been a great first year,” Higgens said. “I love cheer and it has always been my passion. I was a cheerleader in high school and coaching was always something I wanted to do. The first year has been a fantastic experience. I’ve loved getting to know the girls and watching the team grow has been phenomenal.”
“I will remember absolutely everything,” Miller said. “I’ll remember every person that came into practice, all the inside jokes, every time a stunt hit and every time nothing worked. This year has been one of my favorites, I don’t think I will forget much.”