The Douglas High School cheerleading squad took on the new “game day” competition format with a fearless attitude. It’s a new format to Wyoming this year as cheer programs begin the adoption of national standards for competition.
At the first annual 7220 Game Day Spirit Championships at the University of Wyoming Nov. 10, the Lady Bearcats competed against 19 other teams with the opportunity to show off their game day performance. Douglas won best overall band dance out of all 20 teams and also placed first in the small group division.
“It was kind of intimidating competing against that many schools,” junior Stephanie Witbrod said. “I was not expecting to win best dance at all because of all the incredible dances that other schools had. It was a great feeling when we won.”
After months of training only to be boiled down to three minutes of judged performances, Douglas’ season culminated in a well-earned top finish.
“It’s the first time we have ever competed in that type of competition and we were surprised to take first,” senior McKenzie Moore said. “We were really excited and happy to see our hard work pay off. It was amazing.”
The new game day format will be used by cheer teams at the state competition in March for the first time and is replacing non-stunt competition. It consists of a band dance, situational sideline cheer, chant and school fight song. Stunts and tumbling are also a part of the performance and will be judged not only on skill but also on how well cheerleaders are able to entertain the crowd and lead them in participation.
Along with the best overall dance, the Lady Cats also had two teams compete in stunting. Sam Haukereid and Moore both advanced to the second round of the jump competition as did Colson Webster-Viers and Witbrod in the tumbling portion.
Witbrod advanced past the second round and was named one of three tumbling finalists.
“I was surprised that I made the top three in tumbling because I thought that there were going to be girls doing much harder tumbling skills than me,” Witbrod admitted. “But at the same time I wasn’t surprised because I knew that my tumbling was very good and Colson (Webster-Viers) helps me with so much of my tumbling skill and pushes me to get better.”
This year’s fall squad was made up of 20 cheerleaders, including McKenzie Moore (Varsity Captain), Falyn Schmidt (Co-Captain), Misha Corkil-Bomgaars (JV Captain), Colson Webster-Viers, Jaedyn Miller, Johanna Martinez, Kourtney Henderson, Nathan Jackson, Heather Christensen, Jenna Jackson, Katelyn Duggan-Clarke, Sam Haukereid, Sierra Bailey, Stephanie Witbrod, Emily Eastman, Ivy Shinkle, Josie Dziardziel, Lily Wells, Lucie Holt and Tamisha Sherman.
“I’m really proud of all my teammates,” Moore said. “Especially the freshman who made it onto the 7220 team. They all worked so hard and it paid off.”
The Lady Cats begin their winter season Nov. 26 and after hoisting the trophy in Laramie, are feeling good about the new game day format that will be featured at the state competition in March.
“I think the new format will help us be less overwhelmed by all of the people and the teams,” Witbrod said. “We’ll be much more prepared.”