Cheerleading team back to bring pep — and stunts and back handsprings — to Watertown High events


Raider Times photo / Mufleha Hossain

The Watertown High School cheerleading team poses for a picture during the football game at Victory Field on Sept. 16, 2022.

Michelle Vinnik, Raider Times staff

Football season. Arguably one of the most fun times a Watertown High student could experience. The team just had their first game on Friday, Sept. 9, going home from Victory Field with a victory. This wasn’t only an eventful evening of hard work for the football team, but, near the stands, a group of students dressed in sparkly costumes and holding shiny pom-poms jump, shout, and stunt. They are known as our WHS cheerleaders. 

When you enter Victory Field, you see some friendly faces shaking their pom-poms and supporting the football team, along with the student section, matching clothes based on the week’s theme. With all the cheers – and the WHS students bringing in the noise – the game is busy and eventful. Throughout the game, the cheer team will perform a stunt or have some of the members show off their back handsprings and back tucks. The cheer team practices three days a week, said Alyce Judge, a WHS senior, and one of the team captains, for 2.5 hours each practice.

Ali Sevene of the Watertown High School cheerleading team poses during the football game at Victory Field on Sept. 16, 2022. (Raider Times photo / Mufleha Hossain)

“We stunt, jump, dance,” explained Camila Guimarães, another senior and team captain.

These productive practices are filled with working on cheers and choreography. It is an enjoyable time to be with friends while working super hard.

The bases must have a strong hold to support their flyer while they have their arms in a high V position, or when they come down in a basket toss. The backs hold the flyers’ ankles still. Although it seems like the bases and backs need to be the strongest, the flyers need a lot of strength, as well. While making different arm motions, they have to use their core to keep themselves tight and strong so they don’t fall forward or back.

Of course, when doing all these complicated tricks, communication is crucial, so the team is very close and friendly with each other, which everyone agreed is one of the most relevant and interesting parts of cheer, along with stunting.

Julia Howell, a Watertown High freshman who has cheered for many years, said, “We’re all friends and all care for each other,” also mentioning that they encourage each other with positivity, pep talks, and jokes.

Karina Daldemian, a newcomer to the team, said her favorite thing about cheer is “tumbling or doing the dance parts of the choreo, even being in a stunt group. Plus, everyone there is really friendly.”

Soon, the team will begin competition season, when it will compete in a qualifier competition, potentially leading them to states. Coaches Jennifer Ryan and Stephanie Owens will work to perfect and clean up all the stunts and choreography to make sure they are all competition ready. The music will be custom fit as well, and the routine will be filled with unique stunts, basket tosses, dancing, tumbling, and a pyramid. 

–Sept. 20, 2022–