BUCYRUS — The Galion High School competition cheerleading team kicked off its 2021-2022 season with a runnerup performance at the Bratwurst Festival.
The Tigers cheer squad finished second behind champion Bucyrus in this year’s county-wide cheerleading contest at the festival on Thursday. The successful performance at the Bratwurst Festival was the result of a summer’s worth of preparation, head coach Mikayla Hackett said.
“We have seven girls on our competition squad this year and we have one team manager and they all just work so well together,” said Hackett, who has been head cheerleading coach at Galion for two years and has been part of the coaching staff for three years. Olivia Tanner is the assistant coach for the team.
The 2021-2022 Galion High School competition cheerleading team features the following students: seniors Melanie Wheeler and Ashlee Oris; juniors Hayli Marcum, Emma Von Der Hofen, Julia Aumend, and Tessalyn Parker; and freshman Carlee Pennington. Junior Anna Ruiz is the team manager.
“We have worked all summer long. We started creating our competition routine actually in June, so we have worked for three hard months getting it ready,” Hackett added.
Hackett said competition teams are required to do a chant, a cheer, and a dance routine for a panel of judges to consider.
“We always incorporate any type of tumbling and there’s always jumps,” Hackett said. “(The judges) watch to make sure everyone is in the right formation. Everything is timed. We usually get feedback from the judges on our routine, which is really nice because it helps us to know what we need to correct. But judges are mainly looking for everything to be on time and for teams to present a clean routine overall.”
Hackett said preparing for competition season is literally a team effort for the Galion squad.
“I like for my girls to be able to create the routine that they want,” Hackett said. “I want them to pick the music. I always come in with some choreography myself and they bring their own choreography and we mesh it all together. I will give them credit, they do the majority of it and it is fantastic what they come up with. We definitely work together as a team and create that routine. So everything is done in house and we are super-proud of that.”
Unlike last season, which was played under a myriad of restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there are no restrictions in place at this point in time with the beginning of a new school year and competition season at hand. Hackett said the young ladies are looking forward to getting back out and performing for the fans and fellow students.
“They are excited to be back together and to be able to be at every game that they can be at this year and cheering on the boys,” she said. “They love having that crowd in front of them and having their families there under the lights for football season. It really just gives them energy. They’re such a talented group of girls and they thrive on game days.”
Hackett said the team has already competed in two events this summer and she is considering adding two more events to the schedule with the possibility for more depending on what occurs due to the COVID-19 pandemic.