Pierce County High School seven-time state champion competition cheerleaders have their sights set on another region championship and state title this season — but it may take longer than usual to get there.
That’s because the competition cheer season has been delayed until November, due to the ongoing threat posed by COVID-19 (coronavirus).
The squad has racked up 40 consecutive competition wins in a row, have gone undefeated in 54 regular season competitions over the last nine years. Additionally, the competition cheerleaders have won seven state championships in each of the last eight years and 13 region championships over the last 16 years.
“Our goals are to remain focused throughout this season even with the threat of the coronavirus lurking around. We still have the hope of having a season and winning another state championship, and that is something I don’t ever want to take away from an athlete no matter how tough our situation may be,” says Head Coach Amy Nimmer.
Nimmer says she is trying to keep the girls motivated. She noted this year’s November start state is generally when the season would be winding down in a normal year.
“We want to keep our girls motivated even through times such as these. This is the time when how we respond will truly make a difference in this team. We can choose the easy path and give up, or we can choose the path of perseverance,” she said. “We can accept the change that has been placed into our path and make the most out of this situation.”
“Crazy” is the theme for this year’s season and is, obviously, inspired by the unusual circumstances occurring throughout the world because of the pandemic.
“We instantly knew that was going to be our theme for the year. This team is still blessed to have a routine that is jammed packed with a full degree of difficulty. In each area of the score sheet, we are still able to max out our points,” Nimmer says.
This year’s squad includes many veteran cheerleaders and 10 new members.
Nimmer says keeping the cheerleaders focused and motivated will be the biggest challenge this year.
“We need to keep everyone healthy. When one of our athletes misses, it hurts the whole team. Competitive cheerleading is a very unique sport in that you can’t have an alternate for each position. Each cheerleader has her very own unique part in the routine. Unfortunately, when someone gets hurt or sick, it doesn’t necessarily mean we will have someone to replace her. We will do our absolute best to fill that position, but we never know what to expect until the situation arises,” she said.
Nimmer says she thinks her team will be fine and will be ready for competition when the season arrives.
“Our girls have passion, perseverance and a strong work ethic. Each year the team wants to do better than the team did the year before. That’s never a bad thing. It is always positive motivation. These athletes have been trained how to persevere and never give up for two minutes and thirty seconds. Do they mess up? Absolutely, but we take those moments and turn them into teachable moments. We take those mistakes and learn from them, so it doesn’t happen again. Their grit is superb. When they take those mats, they become a well oiled machine,” Nimmer says.
Nimmer says she is always amazed to see the heart in her team.
“As a coach, you think, “Where did that come from?””Why don’t they do this at practice?” But I know they take that two minutes and 30 seconds seriously. When it’s competition time, they put their game face on and perform from the heart. Giving everything they’ve got because they know they have been preparing for each competition.”
The competition cheerleaders perform with that grit and that heart in both normal and “crazy” times.