A global pandemic was not about to stop the Junior Varsity and Varsity Pep Squad from participating in tryouts for the 2020-2021 season. Through online videos, cheer was the first sport to digitize tryouts while still following social distancing guidelines.
Upon the school’s shut-down, Pep Squad Head Coach Lauren Alexander enlisted seniors to monitor, help and demonstrate skills and routines to the other girls. Applicants submitted a video of themselves performing their routine and were judged for their dancing, tumbling, cheering and spirit. They submitted their videos on April 24th, and by April 27th, results were out.
“I think they were successful considering this was the first time I have done something like this,” Alexander said. “I think the only problem with the girls submitting a tryout video versus a live tryout is that you might not be in a suitable environment to show off certain skills.”
Embracing the online change, JV and Varsity cheer teams have been participating in weekly Zoom meetings. For Alexander, it is a way to check up on how the students are doing while also assigning workouts and strengthening exercises so they are prepared for in-person practices once school resumes. Alexander’s communication with the team has set a precedent for the girls to interact with each other as well, forming bonds that otherwise would not have been there.
“I think it’s really good that we are staying in touch with the team and checking in on each other,” sophomore Gigi Tanner said. “I’m glad that we are continuing all the normal things we would do during the beginning of the new season to make it feel more normal and fun!”
Alexander will continue to provide weekly zoom meetings until social distancing guidelines are removed and students are able to return back to school in order to stay in contact with the team, especially since their season kicks off right as school resumes.
“I am looking forward to coming up with new stunts for our varsity team to perform at football games and creating fun new rally routines for next year,” Alexander said.
While the 2020-2021 JV and Varsity team members have already been chosen, cheer captains are expected to be chosen later in the summer.
“Seeing my team feel pride in what they do because they put in the extra hours of blood, sweat and tears is what makes this experience so worthwhile,” Alexander said.