Cheerleaders make fourth appearance in a row at State


Kaia Kimble

Seniors Madelyn Eash, Jenna Simmons, Ella Tyler and Olivia Welch pose for a picture at the end of competition in December. The cheerleaders qualified for states four times in the past four years.

 The cheer team at GlenOak made it to states for the fourth time in four years.

     Going to states requires two types of competition routines: gameday division and competition division. 

     Gameday is more of what people would see on the sidelines of a sports game. It is more on the actual “cheering” part of the sport. 

     Competition division is the strategic part of the sport, where tumbling and dancing comes into play. It is scored more on the players skills rather than what gameday is scored on. 

     The senior players, knowing that it was their last competition within high school cheer, explained how proud they were of the team and the accomplishments they have obtained throughout the years.

     Senior player Maddie Eash describes the hard work that went into the years of the cheer team, and how new players can learn from the mistakes of the older players.

     “Being on a team that has been to the cheerleading state competition is such a wonderful feeling,” Eash said. “Knowing that GlenOak had to fight so hard to even get invited to state before I started this team, and having been on a team that placed sixth out of almost 20 teams is insane to me. It shows how hard this team has worked over the years and how far we have come as a program.”

     Eash also goes into detail about the specifics of the team and how over the course of this year specifically, the team has bonded. She explains how team bonding is the best way for the team to succeed.

     “This team for the 2021-2022 season has been the most tight-knit and connected team this program has seen in years,” Eash said. “I do believe that this level of unity and respect for one another has brought us closer together, and that closeness is something that is necessary for success.”

     Eash in not the only senior on the team who has seen the growth in the past year. Senior player Taylor Bolon has noticed the same amount.

     Bolon explains how the accomplishment of going state bound, even as a freshman for her, was wonderful.

     “Progressing to state is a big accomplishment, I can’t express how proud I am of the team,” Bolon said. “I have cheered for 10 years, but my freshman year we went to state for the first time in 14 years.”

     In the same context as Eash, Bolon makes clear that one of the main contributions to the team’s success was the bonding.

     “After our first state-qualifying performance in 2019, we knew we had to come together as a team,” Bolon said. “We formed close friendships and bonded over the goals that we shared which led to significant improvement over the years.”

   The cheer team has many accomplishments that are record-bound. Their head coach Alyssa West contributes to this greatly.

     “I have coached for 10 years in Plain Local and this is my seventh year at GlenOak,” West said.

     West explains the achievement of making it to states for the fourth year in a row, and how it is a huge deal for the team.

     “I am very proud of the hard work and dedication of my athletes. They continue to grow their athletic skills and leadership each season and continue to make this program stronger and stronger,” West said. 

     The team making it to states for the fourth year has been seen as a bonding experience and opportunity for everyone on the team. 

    “I do believe that this level of unity and respect for one another has brought us closer together, and that closeness is something that is necessary for success,” Eash said. “Knowing that the person standing next to you while you compete is going to support and hug you as soon as you are done performing drives you significantly to be the best you can be, all for one another. It improves dedication and determination for sure.”