Cheerleaders Practice, Compete, Fundraise like Teams They Support

    The JDHS Crimson Bears cheer squad perform during the Capital City Classic in December. (Klas Stolpe)

    Juneau, Alaska (KINY) - The Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé cheer squad has practice hours as intense at the teams they represent and deal with the same obstacles: COVID, holidays, regular cold and flu, and snow days.

      “We have yet to have a practice with the entire team or have a game with the entire team,” head coach Carlene Nore said.

      During the Capital City Classic basketball tournament in December the cheer team was down five to seven members and was making changes on a daily basis. According to Nore, sometimes those changes were 15 minutes before tip off.

      “Although this is frustrating as a coach and team member, the team found its way to push on and still put all game day material on the floor for games,” Nore said. “When you make changes in cheer, it means changing stunt groups, formations, spots on the floor etc. So much can go wrong that you have to trust and rely on your teammates to know their changes and do their job.  Everything we do is connected, every team member is important and needed.”

      Game day routines include sideline dances, the JDHS school fight song, the “Hey Song,” starting five stunts and full time outs.

      “With all the changes, we have found our weaknesses and our strengths,” Nore said. “So with the stresses of change we were able to learn and we know where we need to improve.”

    Nore said this year has been very different from last year.

      “We have team members who this is their first experience with a crowd and fans,” Nore said. “We’re short on leadership, but gaining confidence with each game.”

      The JDHS cheer squad are the defending Region V and State champs.

      “We know we have to work hard to retain our titles this year,” Nore said. “We know other teams are working hard and are coming to take the title. It’s always harder to stay on top. Our kids have goals for this season and even though we’re “small”- from our standards, we have a solid , committed and skilled group. I’m very proud of how the team has handled these short notice changes and are able to come together as a team to ensure safety and continue to do our job - to cheer on the Bears!”

      Just like other high school sports or activities the cheer team must fundraise to help with travel and various necessities.

      Their latest event was an annual Christmas Tree Recycling fundraiser in which they picked up 125 trees.

    This Saturday they will host a spaghetti feed at the Moose Lodge from 6-8 p.m., sponsored by the Ladies of the Moose. The cost is $10 per plate. Tickets are available from team members or at the door. To-go and delivery options are also available. To place delivery orders call 723-3102.

      The team is also doing Valentine Cupcake Grams to be delivered on Valentine’s Day. They include a card, cupcake, balloon and delivery for $15. To order text 723-6580 or contact a team member.

      This year’s JDHS cheer team are seniors Aurora Johnson, Ben Iona, Ian Bugayong, Ki’Yana Ivy, Mason Harris and Tessa Silva; juniors Giana Partinico, Natalie Wittwer, Piper Robidoux, Sandrenia Nickle-Bean and Summer Lucas; and sophomores Claire Durling, Julia Felix, Mila Griffin, Ryan Shattuck and Yella Cristobal. Team managers are senior Mira Marthaler and junior Katie Pikul.

      Coach Nore is assisted by Colby Sanders and Chelsea Kilgore.

      (KINY reached out to both high school cheer and dance teams).

    Above/Below - The JDHS cheer team during a recent girls basketball game against the Colony Knights.

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