An overview on DHS’ cheer and pom teams competition season

“I think that this season went really well,” Jones said. “I’m really proud of everyone and how we worked together as a team and built great relationships with one another. This year was unlike any year I have had on the team [so far].”

Originating in the 1880s, cheer has been a part of the sports world for years. But it wasn’t until the 1960s that college cheerleading teams would start competing against each other. Since then, competitive cheerleading has skyrocketed in popularity. There are cheer competitions all over the world from the United States to countries like Australia and Germany. Along with national and international competitions, there are also state-wide competitions, such as the MHSAA districts, regionals, and finals. DHS’ varsity Cheer team has had quite the eventful season, with a total of nine competitions this school year. Junior cheerleader Leah Jones explains that the team worked very hard to prepare for these competitions.

“We practice three times a week,” Jones said. “On Tuesdays we practice for three hours. On Wednesdays we practice for two hours, and then again on Thursday for three hours. At times we add extra practices before competitions but only if it’s really necessary.”

Jones explains that along with these extra practices, the teams set goals for themselves before big competitions.

“There are, I think, 14 teams in our SVL,” Jones said. “Our coach said that she hoped to get around sixth place. There are a lot of teams that have really strong [cheer] programs. And, Dow is still trying to build our program. So we know, as for the SVL, we might not get first place. But, we still aim to meet those goals and get a good spot.”

Along with setting goals and putting in some hard work during practices, being bonded as a team is important. According to a Forbes article written by Brian Scudamore, team building is one of the most important things that groups or teams of people can do. It can build trust and help teams communicate better. Jones says that the cheer team being so bonded with each other, it helps them navigate conflict.

“If you need to correct someone on something, having that kind of close relationship with them makes it easier,” Jones said. “ Then [the correction] won’t come off the wrong way, And it just makes the practices and the competitions overall more enjoyable.”

The cheer team ended their season securing first place at their Shepard, Sanford-Meridian, and Crosstown Showdown meets. Their highest-scoring competition was their district competition at Rockford high school in Rockford, MI. They ended with a score of 693.62, the highest scoring round for them being round three with a score of 299.1.

“I think that this season went really well,” Jones said. “I’m really proud of everyone and how we worked together as a team and built great relationships with one another. This year was unlike any year I have had on the team [so far].”

Pom is a sport that is exclusive to the state of Michigan. Mid American Pompon, or MAPP, was founded in 1979. According to the MAPP website, it was founded with the intent of giving members the opportunity to learn routines and grow their skills in a positive environment, build self-esteem, and establish team unity. This competition season, DHS’ varsity and junior varsity pom teams have been striving to do just that. 

Junior and Varsity pom team member Adelyn Mikols explains that the team has very packed schedules around their competitions in order to prepare for them.

“It all depends on the week,” Mikols said. “On a normal week we practice Monday through Wednesday from 3:30 PM to 6:00 PM. However, during our competition season, we practice Monday through Thursday. In addition, we have Saturday morning practices from 7:00 AM to 10:00 or 10:30 AM. We also typically have basketball halftime performances on Fridays and we normally practice for a few hours before the games to prepare for them.”

The team is trying hard to work on their form and strength for this competition season. This means that in addition to practicing for multiple hours a week on their performance routines, they do lots of conditioning. Both varsity and junior varsity teams do drills to improve their core strength, their jumps, and their overall stamina. All of which has made Mikols feel very confident about their competition season this year.

“[Our goal] is to place as best as we can,” Mikols said. “We want to leave the competitions and the season proud of the work that we have put in.”

DHS started out their competition season strong, qualifying for their state competition with a score of 76.67. The team then went on to get fourth place out of five teams at the Mid American Pom Pon state competition.

Mikols says that the bond they have as a team plays into how they perform.

“We are very close,” Mikols said. “Our team is the smallest it has been in a long time. We only have nine people and we have all been through a lot together. We have all grown and done pom for a long time with each other.”

Mikols reveals how the team deals with stressful and tense situations.

“We aren’t always able to have team bonding, so it can be tough,” Mikols said. “Not having a team bond can cause a lot of strain on our team and makes things quite tense. But, we try to do things that lighten up the mood like taking a music and dance break during stressful times.”

Cheer and pom. Both are sports of sharp and precise movements combined with flowing dance elements to create flawless routines. And there is no doubt that both teams gave it their all when competing. Through strenuous practices and keeping their cool, DHS’ cheer and pom teams have done it all this season.

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Allison Sheets

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