By: Lily Criswell and Tracy Truong
Competitive cheerleading isn’t just about the competition. It’s about teamwork, support, and communication.
MMACHS junior Cece Alexander, an All Star cheerleader, knows this by heart.
“Cheerleading taught me how to be a team member and how to be there for other people. You may be having a great practice but somebody else may be pushing through the pain or having a bad day, so you learn to be there to cheer them up and vice versa,” said Cece.
She does a good job at incorporating her positive attitude at school as well.
Ms. Ballen, MMACHS’ biology teacher, stated that “She is very positive, outgoing, and supportive of her fellow classmates.”
Ten years ago, she began practicing acrobatics and gymnastics where she learned the techniques she uses in competitions today. But, it wasn’t until four years ago she made the switch to cheerleading.
“My favorite is tumbling, although we do stunts as well. It’s done in a group where you hold up somebody above your head. We have the flyer which is probably the lightest human being on earth along with people trying to catch the flyer's foot.”
Competitive cheerleading takes a lot of practice as you have to learn how to work within a small group.
“We stay with that group for the whole year and it usually takes a good chunk of time before you get used to those people. Each person is different so you learn to work as a team. You get really close with those people. I've known [my team] since I started cheer.”
Through cheer, Cece has gotten an opportunity to travel to a variety of states.
“I've gone everywhere from Indianapolis, Ohio, California, Utah, Nevada, and Arizona,” exclaimed Cece.
The Cheerleading Worlds (also known as Cheerleading World Championships) is an annual international competition between top-level athletes. Only those who are invited are able to compete in this championship.
“Worlds is really big and features level six teams from all over the world.”
Not only is World’s a great place to compete at, it's also very diverse.
“We went down the street when we were in Florida and heard people talking with British and Australian accents. There were also people talking in French and Spanish. I like watching all the teams because they [cheer] super differently… It's interesting to see their team dynamic and what they do in their routines.”
Cece and her teams have accomplished a lot in cheer. They usually place first or second. At World’s last year, they finished 8th in their division, which is great! Cece saw that making it into finals is always an awesome opportunity.
Competitive cheerleading is also very superstitious; practicing these rituals promotes “good luck.”
“The coach usually has specific candy that she gives us. I usually take a Pixy Stix; some people take specific colors. I also take two sour patch kids then behind stage I do a handshake with one of my friends.”
Cece believes that no matter what happens, the actual competition makes it all worth it.
“After you go on stage you feel relief whether you do good or bad.”