Cheerleaders: Winning and Grinning

Kyrsten Johnson-Gray & Daisy Terry, Staff

This year’s Seward Seahawk cheerleading team started from scratch. Having no returning cheerleaders, and having both a varsity and JV team, they faced some challenges. However, throughout the season, they did nothing but grow in knowledge and proved that they wouldn’t let that stop them.

The cheerleaders did a few new things this year, from having a JV team, to bringing back the 3A Regional Cheerleading competition, to having to perform at state with a new set up. After taking 2nd at the Regions tournament, the team practiced through spring break while enduring injuries, sickness, and absentees. Then the Seahawks went to state and took home the gold in Division II. Going from the team with little to no experience, to stealing the show, talk about going out with a boom.

Here are what some of the girls had to say about their experiences. Athena Smith’s’ favorite part of the season was “being a part of a team that felt more like a family.”

Linnea Hribernick says, “I liked how we all worked together and encouraged each other with smiles throughout the season, even through the rough patches, and we never gave up.”

Emilia Whitcome “loved all the close bonds that were made and the silly moments [they] shared.”

Jessica Batubara’s most memorable moment was, “Bekah pushing me out of a stunt to get over my fear of cradling.”

This season, there were four teams competing in the 3A Regional tournament: the Homer Mariners, the ACS Lions, the Kenai Kardinals, and your very own Seward Seahawks. Seward had a four-girl squad competing against 10-12 person squads. They received runner up to the Kenai Kardinals, and had three of the girls make all-conference team, and one received good sportsmanship. As well as, head coach Haley Hatch receiving coach of the year for the third year in a row.

They left for state Wednesday March, 20th, and while driving to the competition decided to change the stunting part of the routine. Only getting one chance to have a shaky run through before performing  that night, they were a little nervous. The Seahawks were the smallest team, having only four people when almost every other team in Division II had 12, they seemed like they were not competition to worry about.

State competition had a different set up than previous years. Instead of being judged solely on a half-time routine, it was going to be judged based on what they would do during a basketball game, hoping to bring back the more peppy, “cheering” aspect of the sport.

After stepping off the floor for the sideline cheering part of the competition, the team knew they didn’t perform to the best of their abilities, but pulled together for the halftime routine later that night. The Seward Seahawks took a risk and had a pep band dance at the beginning of the routine, which no other squad had done. When it came down to their dance routine for halftime, they had their best performance yet.

At the beginning of the awards, the girls sat among the rest of the teams anticipating the winners announced. After hearing the Kenai Kardinals called for runner up, there wasa thought that ran through head coach Haley Hatch’s mind, “We still have a chance.” While she thought this, the rest of the team was not expecting much seeing that they were the smallest, and a beginning team there.

When their name was called, they were in so much shock, they sat there for a few seconds before standing to claim their trophy. Teary-eyed, the team went to the front of the gym Aside from winning gold, the team got many compliments on how genuine they were, and how much they deserved the trophy.

Following the state competition, the team discovered not only did they score the best in Division II, but they scored higher than all schools at the competition.

Seward Seahawk cheerleaders made a statement: even if you’re a small team and come from a small school, you’re not something to be underestimated.

Cheerleaders with first place state trophy.