SPORTS: New cheer coaches assist team in working towards placing in sectionals


Mia Graske

Plainfield East cheer supports their football team on Sep. 8th against Oswego East High School.

The Plainfield East cheer team has all new coaches who aim for displaying teamwork and motivation.

Equipped with new coaches and new knowledge, the team is working towards their goal of placing in sectionals.

“I’m looking forward to sectionals, just because we want to try to do our absolute best and hopefully place in the top 5,” Cheer team flier and senior, Maddie Larmon said.

Two and a half minutes is the amount of time cheer gets to showcase their hard work at competitions. To perform well at competitions in that time frame, cheer requires dedication to the team, including sacrificing time.

Counselor and cheer coach Shelley Mendez said, “We have practice everyday, we have choreography for varsity and JV, which was over the weekend for about 8 hours.”

The choreography includes hiring a professional choreographer and time spent over summer for varsity cheerleaders. This time spent allows the cheerleaders to showcase their underestimated hard work.

Main base and freshman, Cassidy Taiym said, “People have told me you just stand there, you don’t do anything, and then you get out there and show them, this is what we actually do.” 

Games are utilized to their full potential as well.

“During games we’re using things that we’re trying to build on in competition, we’re using the games kind of as a practice,” Mendez said.

“Usually we come in right after school and we try to be ready by 2:30. We start by running and

conditioning. Depending on what day it is we’ll work on tumbling or stunting, and then at the end we do conditioning,” said Larmon.

The cheer team has group words on posters to serve as reminders to think about and be held accountable for when things go wrong during practice, though the team is non judgemental.

“It’s okay to make mistakes now and you just learn from them,” Taiym said.

The words include trust, accountability, determination, respect, and communication.

“Those were things that we came up with over the summer. We all discussed what they found to be important, and we used the repetitive words, and came together and decided as a team that these were the words that we wanted to embody and live by throughout the season,” Mendez said.

For accountability, the cheer team believes that:

“It’s okay to make mistakes sometimes, we just work through them, and always learn from them,”  Cheer team side base and junior Rylee Larson said.

More improvements have been made in the 2022 to 2023 season as well.

“We’ve gotten a lot better with using our time efficiently, we’ve used every single practice as a learning opportunity and our trust level has gone up a lot, we’re a lot more bonded,” Larmon said.

After an era of COVID, the team bond has been improved as well.

“My freshman year I didn’t really connect well with a lot of people and it was kind of a hard year for everyone because of COVID. Now that everyone knows each other, I’ve connected really well,” said Larson.

With all the work and time put into cheerleading, still there are doubts from others, including undermining the difficulty of  cheer skills.

“I know for a fact that stunting and tumbling take a lot on you, working on it all 4 years, I’m still not where I want to be in stunting and tumbling aspects,” said Larmon.

This is not just at Plainfield East, but universally, across all of cheerleading.

Mendez said, “Everyone that does cheer works towards saying we are taken seriously, that there is blood, sweat, and tears in this.”

There will always be mishaps and stereotypes, however everything works out in the end.  Larson said:

“After you perform and do amazing, then everything’s a relief. It’s like all I did, everything I did this week paid off.”

Watch the cheer team’s hard work pay off at the next home football game on the 30th, against Plainfield Central.