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Strath Haven cheerleaders excel during season, Districts, States

The cheerleading team reached new levels of success in their season this year, making history.
Kelly Montague ’25
The Strath Haven cheer team executes a formation for the student body at the Homecoming Pep Rally on October 13.

For the first time in Haven’s cheer history, on January 6, the Strath Haven cheerleaders were announced PIAA District 1 Co-ed Champions.

This was a surprise for the team.

“We were kind of just speechless,” senior cheerleader and flier Natalie Craig said. “As soon as they call our names, in videos that we have, everyone’s jaw kind of just dropped, and then, it just kicks in, like, ‘Oh my gosh, we just won’ and we all were standing up and cheering and shouting, and just getting hyped as a team.”

The win was a clear indicator of the long months of team practices, games, and competitions beforehand.

Practices ran three times a week, on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, and sometimes Fridays. The team also cheered at school basketball games and attended local competitions on the weekends to help prepare.

“From the local competitions, we get a lot of feedback from judges, which helps us think about what we need to improve for bigger competitions,” senior cheerleader and flier Madison Landau said.

Cheerleading Head Coach Ms. Heather Burns also noted that the success showed how much the team has all grown and gotten closer since the start of the season.

“When we came in [for the new season], we had a lot of new cheerleaders, so it was a very young team,” she said. “So when they come in April or May, they don’t really have the cheerleading skills, and we build up those skills. And then I’ve seen them progress throughout the season, and as they progress, the bonds are formed, there’s friendships formed.”

“We were kind of just speechless”

— Natalie Craig '24

Many challenges had to be overcome to get to their point of excellence.

“I think [one] of the biggest challenges is when we have to change the routine for unusual circumstances like someone could be sick or someone gets injured or ineligibility, and depending how close we are to a competition, this makes it really like difficult and stressful to have to not only change and fill people in but change their positions,” Craig said. “We’re always able to work through them though and make it happen.”

Following Districts, the cheer team also took an overnight trip to Hershey, Pennsylvania, where they performed at States and made it to the finals for the first time, skipping right through the semifinal round.

“In the past, we advanced to the semi-finals, but the fact that we got to skip semi-finals because we did so good in prelims was just such a crazy thing to us,” Landau said. “We really just proved ourselves.”

The overnight trip also acted as a strong bonding point with all cheer members.

“It’s kind of a preliminary for what nationals is going to be like,” Burns said. “We started camp with four nights overnight in a cabin, like learning to bond together, and then that starts our season, so then Hershey is another time to bond.”

Nationals bring cheer teams from all over the country to Orlando, Florida to practice and compete together. The cheer team placed 12th for the traditional cheer competition and 13th for the Game Day competition.

The competition marks the end of the 2023-2024 cheer season.

“[We] just want to say thank you to the school, our teammates, coaches, and everyone who has helped our team get to where we are today and for us to continue growing. It’s just been the best opportunity that we’ve ever had,” Craig, Landau, and Coppock said.

There is much to look forward to with many goals to continue to excel as a team.

“We’re losing two of our fliers and some talent in our seniors, but I’m excited to get started again,” Burns said. “Knowing that it’s still such a young team, we’re going to hopefully continue to grow. I would love to have a JV team next year. There’s a lot of potential.”

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About the Contributor
Evelynn Lin '25
Evelynn Lin '25, Editor-in-Chief
Evelynn is a junior at Strath Haven High School, and this is her second year writing for the publication. When she is not busy on the ground taking pictures of fun events or grinding away at articles, she can be found listening to music, taking long walks, studying for school, dancing, making bubble tea, and hanging out with friends.
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