Feb. 22, 2020 — The Siuslaw cheerleading team finished in eighth place at state last Saturday, “and their scores were actually improved from last year, especially our tumbling score,” Coach Teri Straley said.
Placing as high as they did was a quite a feat for the team, which lost three cheerleaders just days before state — one to injury and two for personal reasons. The team only had five days to rebuild the entire routine.
“But we really only had four because someone was home sick one day,” Straley said. “So, we really had four days with all six members to get the routine done. They managed to pull through and keep their heads up high with all of the changes. I think that shows tremendous growth in them. They didn’t give up.”
They began by reworking the entire beginning of their routine.
“Usually, the beginning is supposed to have two stunts, it’s called a ‘show-and-go,’” Straley said. “They shoot straight up and then they come down. It’s normally done with four people in each stunt, but because we were down to six, I found a different stunt to do. One base has their waist, the other has their leg, and they just jump up and they kick their other leg up. That ended up looking really nice.”
They also had to have a whole new flier for one of their longest stunts of the routine.
“We knocked that out in three days of practice to get it to the point where it was nice and smooth, where there were no glitches in the entire section,” Straley said.
When the team arrived at Portland’s Memorial Coliseum for state competition, they were coming off a long night from the drive, which led to a lot of tiredness right before the routine.
“They went out there and left whatever tiredness and issues they had away from the mat and performed the best they possibly could, one of the best things they’ve done all year. I’m really proud of them,” said Straley.
The best part of the routine was the arabesque.
“It was a stunt that they did last year at state, Straley said. After all of their practicing they had it down — but when they actually performed it, the arabesque came down. It went up and it fell.”
Expressly because it failed the year before, Straley insisted that the team keep the stunt in this year’s routine.
“I wanted them to be able to redeem themselves,” she said. “They were all worried about it. I was like, ‘It’s not going to fall this year.’ I think that was one of their proudest moments, getting that stunt up at the end of the routine.”
Saturday was the final competition for the girls, who are now shifting to spring sports. While they were thinking of attending the Oregon Cheerleading Coaches Association’s championship, the girls were too busy.
“I have a lot of members of my team who are doing spring sports, and that starts next week for them. I was like, ‘Well, if we do this, you’re not going to have a break.’ I wanted to give them a break, especially with how proud I was of them at state. I don’t want to drain them so they’re not giving their spring coaches 100 percent.”
Ending the competition season on a high note was good enough for the team.
“I look forward to next year coming back, new and improved,” Straley said. “I have ideas for things to add to our expectations as a team and our routine for next year. I know I want them to achieve more next year, and I know they want to as well. We can only grow from here.”