Cheer squad enters season young, experienced

Sean C. Morgan

A young – but experienced – Sweet Home High School competition cheerleading squad will kick off its season at Springfield on Jan. 15.

The team includes no seniors this year, said new Coach Amber Rosa. Junior Kendra Whaley is team captain. She is joined by junior co-captains Kellie Pollock, Jordyn Price, Desiree McCormick and Carlie McCubbins.

Returning sophomores include Mariah Morneault and Taylor Thorpe.

Incoming cheerleaders are freshmen Kaitlyn Watts, Courtney Sanders, Kaelee Almy, Kalyn Hagle, Peyton Plebuch, Joleen Smith, Veronica Szuch, Janessa Baskin, Selena Rowe, Autumn Martin and Karlie Callin.

“It’s a really young team, but a lot of them have come up from our junior high team,” Rosa said. All but four or five of the girls have experience as cheerleaders.

“I think it’s going to work out really well,” Rosa said. “Our freshmen are really stepping up.”

The Huskies have several talented flyers who will be amazing as seniors, Rosa said.

“Our routine is adorable,” she said. It’s difficult with a lot of scoring potential, including a variety of stunts, such as spin tosses, a leap frog pyramid and scorpions.

The team’s theme this year is fire, Rosa said. “All our songs have to do with fire and burning.”

Past themes have been love, Elvis and Austin Powers, she said.

It’s difficult to judge the competition as a new coach, Rosa said, but the other two dominant 4A to 1A division cheerleading teams in recent years also have had changes. Pleasant Hill has a new coach, and Brookings has rearranged its coaching staff.

Those two schools, along with Sweet Home, have finished in the top three over the past four years.

The cheerleaders will compete at Springfield on Jan. 15 and Jan. 29. They compete at the Oregon State Fairgrounds on Feb. 4 and the state competition on Feb. 12 in Portland.

Rosa is assisted by Coach Kim Graves.