Cheer and dance teams practice and compete


Grace L. Morgan, Staff Reporter

   Although COVID-19 has delayed the GCHS cheer and dance team practices, both teams managed to compete in the Pearl River Community College regional competition and state competition in Jackson. 

   The cheer squad placed first in the Pearl River Community competition. 

   Since the beginning of summer, the cheer team has practiced virtually through zoom meetings as well as together in groups. As of June, the team was able to participate in a choreography camp that applied COVID guidelines. 

   “ We could only practice together for less than ten minutes and we couldn’t practice consecutive days so it was a big challenge to get all the choreography in,” coach Holly Hulbert said. 

   In addition, cheer practice was delayed for several weeks due to quarantine and positive tests. They also have had only four or five practices since August that had the entire team present because of COVID absences. 

   The first competition took place Dec. 5 at Pearl River Community College along with the state competition that will take place Dec. 12 at the Mississippi Coliseum in Jackson. 

   Furthermore, the cheer team performed a full regular routine and also competed against every other team that did a full routine.

   “ I don’t think it’s fair for us to compete against a team that has 35 members and we have 20 members,” Hulbert said. “ We’re doing that anyway because the girls have a lot of great tumbling they want to showcase.”

   Coach Stephanie Long states that the first competition, which is similar to a regional competition, prepares the dance team for state competition.

   Moreover, the dance squad competed in the second division known as game day, which is new to the state. The first performance for game day had a recording of the band performing a fight song while the team danced to the song. The second performance, known for the spirit raising, had a recording to “we jam” and has a hip hop style dance to go along with it. 

   In comparison, the dance team competed in the small varsity category. 

   “ What that means is that you can have anywhere from five to twelve dancers on the floor.” Long said. 

   One major aspect that is different is the limit on how many people are allowed in the crowd at competition. 

   “ We usually get to have our parents and our family and friends come and cheer on our teams,” Long said. “ This year that is not an option.”

   Since July, the dance team has been practicing specific routines and have been doing workouts during quarantine to get themselves prepared individually. In addition, they have recently started having morning practice before school hours to prepare for competition.