Cheer goes National


Photo provided by Kylie O’Leary

LET’S GO T’WOLVES: Pep Squad performs their routine during the USA Spirit Nationals at the Anaheim Convention Center, full of various stunts and lively choreography.

Mihir Kulkarni, News Editor

Northwood Pep Squad placed ninth nationwide at the USA Spirit Nationals competition from Feb. 25-26 at the Anaheim Convention Center. 

The team competed in the JV Show Cheer Non-Tumbling Novice event, performing a routine that included various dance moves and stunts to a mashup of songs including “Scream and Shout” by Black Eyed Peas and “Shake your Body” by Jackson 5. With 18 other teams in the same category, the competition was a great opportunity to refine their skills and perform in a high-pressure situation. 

“I thought the competition was a really fun event to showcase our work and see what other teams brought forth as well,” junior Aarshvi Shah said. “Our team worked so hard for this and I think that our performance was by far the best one yet.”

The accomplishment comes after the team placed second at regionals on Jan. 22 with a similar routine, qualifying them for the national competition in Anaheim. 

Despite not placing in the top six to qualify for the final round, the team remained proud of their performance and the hard work that went into it. Even with fall and winter sports seasons completed, Pep Squad remains committed to improving their skills through teamwork and dedication.

“I have seen so much improvement from each and every girl on the team and am so excited to see what they can create next competition season,” Varsity Captain Kylie O’Leary said. “I could not be more proud to have been a part of their journey this year and to be given the opportunity to coach them because they are a talented group of girls.”

The team was judged based on factors including their stunts, pyramids, jumps, choreography, technique and crowd appeal. The routine was diligently rehearsed through after-school and early-morning practices, and was similar to those performed at pep rallies, with some changes to the dancing and stunts.

Although this may signal the end of the competition season for Pep Squad, the team will continue to cheer on Northwood athletes in the coming school year. If interested in joining, tryouts for the 2022-23 school year will be held in April.