Cheerleaders land on their feet after restrictions lifted


Belma Mujakic

Seniors Vicky Riordan and Emma Lutker cheer for the football team on their senior night.

After persevering through social distancing restrictions, OHS cheerleaders are now wrapping up their fall season, despite it being an odd one. However, according to Varsity Cheer coach Rebecca Bruning, next season will look more normal with hopes of performances and tryouts in the near future.

Due to social distancing guidelines restricting stunting, the cheer team has not yet been able to carry out tryouts for team placement which were meant to take place in April. Since tryouts never occurred, the program of 65 cheerleaders has been split between a freshman team and an upperclassmen team consisting of sophomores through seniors. 

Coach Bruning looks to the bright side. “It has been great to unite our program in a positive way,” she says. “All incoming freshmen are working together and all returning cheerleaders are too.”

Along with tryouts, performances have also been delayed due to restrictions on stunting. Typically, cheerleaders perform during halftime at football and soccer games, but this year, they have only been able to do sideline cheers. 

“I’m just happy we’re able to attend the games at all,” says senior cheerleader Emma Lutker. “But I do miss performing and stunting, especially since this is my last year.”

Although cheerleaders are allowed to sideline cheer at games, they must wear masks and stand 6 feet apart while doing so, per county guidelines. “I thought that the masks would make us quiet,” cheerleader Hailee Schaal (11) commented. “But since our team is so big this year, it doesn’t matter much.”

Looking ahead, Coach Bruning plans on bringing back both tryouts and stunting performances during basketball season due to a lift in stunting restrictions. “Rather than taking a break in November-December,” said Bruning, “we will be focusing on stunting, team placements, and creating halftime performances.” 

Team placement evaluations to separate the sophomore through senior team will take place during the week of Nov. 17. There will be virtual evaluations for all skills besides stunting. After evaluations, there will be freshman, JV, and varsity teams prepared for future basketball games. Sideline cheering would still require masks and 6 feet spacing.

Performances will begin sometime during basketball season as well. Although restrictions were lifted on Sept. 28  during football season, Coach Bruning said that there is not enough time to coordinate a music routine before the end of the season.

Cheerleader Anna Tate (10) expressed her excitement for future routines. “I can’t wait until we can start performing at halftime,” she stated. ”especially since we haven’t been able to stunt yet.” 

After missing their homecoming, senior night, and first-day-of-school performances along with their UCA camp, it would seem that the cheer team would be discouraged. Instead, they are looking forward to a fulfilling and exciting basketball season.

“I was looking forward to having a normal senior year in cheerleading,” said Vicky Riordan (12). “So I’m hoping I can make those memories next season when things are more concrete.”