Eagles cheerleading prepares for upcoming competition 

Competition season is in full swing for Kirkwood Community College’s Cheerleading team and they are training for their next competition at the 12th annual WOW Factor Sports Cheer and Dance championship in Minneapolis, Minn. The competition is at the end of February and takes place over three days.  

Eagles Cheer starts training for their competitions not long after the new season’s tryouts take place. Coaches Sarah Byers and Stephanie Martinez shared how they go about choosing the competition team. 

“You can only compete with 15 athletes and we have 19. We base the competition team on skill, grades, attitude, work ethic, attendance, all that stuff,” said Byers. “We do the same thing every practice, work on our skills and comp routine and then do conditioning at the end of every practice.” 

Martinez also shared how committed the team is. “It’s a lot of training for a short routine. We put so much work into it year-round but our routine is only two and a half minutes,” she said. 

Although the team has the same practice routine, every cheerleader also prepares in their own way. Kali Thurn, business administrative management, explained how she gets ready for these events. “To prepare for competitions I like to mark the routine in my head a couple of times as well as watch a video of our routine to help visualize everything together,” she said.  

Thurn also vocalized how important the coaches are to preparing the team. “My coaches support us during this time by making sure we as a team feel prepared and confident going into a competition and by reassuring us that our hard work put in will be amazing on the mats,” said Thurn. 

“I feel that my coaches give us such good advice and thoughtful feedback that you can’t take their advice in a bad way, it’s always something to uplift you. My coaches are always willing to talk to me about my personal life if anything is going on and give good personal advice to always help our days.” 

These cheer competitions have many categories. The Kirkwood team’s routine includes a cheer section and a music performance all under three minutes. Although they perform for a short time, the day of the competition is a long one for these athletes.  

“We get up early and they have to do their hair and makeup matching which then has to be checked and approved. We go to the venue a couple of hours early so they can get a feel of it. Well warm up as a team, stretch and stuff, then we’ll go through the competition warm-ups. It pretty much takes all day,” explained Byers.  

Competing together strengthens the connection between team members. Thurn shared her favorite parts of competing with her team. “

My favorite thing about competitions is the team bonding experience of driving so many hours away in the van and spending time in a hotel helping everyone get ready. Seeing everyone grow either as a stunt group or an individual throughout the season is one of my favorite things throughout the season,” she said.  

Image courtesy of Debra McRoberts | Kirkwood Communiqué