Yelm cheer plays an important role for the teams they cheer on. From keeping the crowd engaged, to displaying school spirit, the ladies worked hard all year to have an entertaining cheer squad. …
Yelm cheer plays an important role for the teams they cheer on. From keeping the crowd engaged, to displaying school spirit, the ladies worked hard all year to have an entertaining cheer squad.
The 2022 Yelm Tornados cheer team was made up of 19 participants at the start of the season and finished with 14. The team was led by captains featuring a senior and two underclassmen which consisted of Kayli Olsen, Lilly Baca and Camryn Hitchner. The team also featured five seniors, including Olsen, Azariah Carter, Briana Gonzales, Carla Gonzales and Samantha Spicer.
The cheer season began last summer, and after tryouts, the girls were able to attend an “Elite Style Stunt Camp,” where they competed and received multiple honors following the camp.
“Our kids did really well. We finished as one of the top teams there. We won a couple trophies, and the leadership award as well,” said assistant cheer coach Maddy Hummel.
The leadership award is voted on by campers and goes to the cheer squad they feel displayed the most leadership throughout the camp, as well as excitement and positivity.
Following the summer camp, the team turned its focus to football season, as they cheered on the boys under the lights each Friday night.
“Our kids did really well during the football season,” said Hummel.
With the return of fans following the COVID-19 caused spring season, the cheerleaders wanted to put extra effort into upping their spirit and engaging with the crowd during games. With the addition of new signs and new stunts, the team was able to do just that.
During the football season, the team had a larger turnout than usual, sporting 18 cheerleaders.
“Because of the large turnout, we were able to do some pretty advanced stunts,” said Hummel.
The cheerleading team’s primary focus was cheering during the football game, because there weren’t any competitions during the fall. The team still practiced different competition concepts during the football season though.
Due to different COVID-19 caused conflicts, the cheerleading team was only able to compete in one competition this winter.
In their first and only competition of the season, the team scored higher than the 65 point mark needed to qualify for the state competition.
“At one point we had a team where only five girls had ever competed on a competition floor. … They went out there and did really well. They accomplished something that not all teams got to this season.”
The team took sixth in their bracket in the state competition, but scored higher than they previously did in January. The competition took place on Feb. 4 in Battle Ground.
Throughout the progression of the cheer season, the team had several team members leave. Coach Hummel gave kudos to the 14 who stuck through the season, especially in such complicated times.
It was not a normal year for Yelm cheer, as they were limited to just one competition.
“COVID was a huge hit to our team overall. Our season was very challenging. We had to overcome a lot of things,” said Hummel. “Everytime we started to stride and build progress, we would run into a new obstacle. The kids had to fight really hard to get to do the season as a whole.”
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