CLOVER — The Clover High School cheerleaders’ preparations for the fall season are twofold: the spirit-driven Friday nights supporting the Blue Eagles football team and the competitive season that begins Sept. 28.
CHS senior cheerleader captains Ashton Nicholas and Jessi Aiken are familiar with the demands of high school cheerleading.
“A lot of people do not know that cheerleading requires a year-round commitment,” Nicholas said. “Tryouts are held in April, and preparations for the fall season continue through the summer. We practiced from 7 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. during the summer months.”
Aiken agrees. “We took some time off the Fourth of July week and kept busy the remainder of the summer,” she said.
In addition to continuous preparations for a new season, Aiken said the cheerleaders spend time with the CHS dance team, sharing ideas for dance routines for the Friday night football games.
Both Aiken and Nicholas are fourth-year cheerleaders who are excited about a new season as team captains. But it’s bittersweet.
“While I am excited about so much going on, it’s sad to think about my senior year,” Nicholas said.
The pair also said that high school cheerleaders often sustain injuries. Nicholas missed the football and competition seasons last year due to a concussion and a sprained ankle.
“Most injuries occur during stunts,” she said.
Hannah Goolsby is the first-year cheerleader coach at CHS after serving as an assistant last year; she is excited about the new season.
Goolsby lauded the 18 varsity cheerleaders for their year-round commitment while taping an ankle for one of the cheerleaders before last Friday’s home game against Forestview.
“They put in a lot of hard work and have positive attitudes,” Goolsby said. “They had a busy summer practicing three and four days a week.”
Since school started, afternoon practices have been added to the cheerleaders’ training.
But Goolsby said the CHS cheerleaders embrace the workload. “They continue to work hard and look forward to the competition season,” she said.