For the Munising Competitive Cheer team building good team, chemistry has been years in the making.
Head coach, Nicole Lasak began combining their middle school and varsity cheer team practices when she took over the program and it’s been paying off.
“These kids have really cheered together since 6th or 7th grade. Now, my seniors this year have gone throughout 8 years of cheer and they’ve had these girls underneath them. So, they get each other’s timing. They just click. They get along, we don’t have the drama and they work hard. They have goals and they know how to reach them,” said Lasak.
“I remember, like my first cheer practice, I remember seeing the seniors and I remember being intimidated. But, you know, right away I jumped in and they encouraged me to join them. You know, joining cheer and seeing how great teams were, we really want to live up to that and we want to be one of the teams that can, you know, be remembered as one of the greatest teams,” said Alexis Walther, a junior cheerleader for Munising.
Chemistry is key in the sport and attention to detail means everything. One slip up can be the difference between a win or a loss in a competition.
“There are three rounds. So, round one is jumps. You know, you’re scored on your jumps, obviously. Your voices, your facials. Are you smiling? Are you giving good facials? Are you smiling, are you being tight? Are you squeezing? You know, are your toes pointed, are your legs straight? Round two, everything has to be the same. Everything has to be uniform. You have to go at the same time, and if you don’t go at the same time then it’s points off. Once again, there’s just the general impression like are you feeling like you have a lot of energy. Round three is my favorite. Its stunts and tumbling. That’s really the round you can have fun with. You can stunt, you can tumble, you can do so many different things,” added Walther.
“We have to be on time to make sure things go well and make sure that things are going as best as possible. It’s just so much work that we have to do. A lot of people just think that we go out there and go ‘rah-rah shiskabog’ but we put in so much work in our skills and our timing and even a little hand bobble is enough to win or lose,” said Kali Donnelly, a senior cheerleader for Munising.
The Mustangs have been busy preparing for their district tournament this upcoming Friday. They’re looking for back to back district titles.
“We definitely need to have our best performance. We need to sell what we have. We need to perform without nerves. You know, and go out there and really be confident in what we’re doing. Obviously, we have to have good timing, that’s the biggest thing. Can all six of our girls be doing everything at the exact same time? That’s the biggest thing,” said Lasak.
“It’s very nerve-wracking to be there. It is very nerve-wracking. But, you just have to stay with your team. You have to stay confident. You can’t freak out. That’s what our coach always tells us. She goes ‘ don’t freak out, you’ve done it a million. Times. So, it is a lot of pressure, but we always encourage each other and keep each other happy,” said Walther.
And even though a district title is in their sight. They hope the can find success far beyond this weekend.
“We’ve broken program records. We’ve smashed them this year. Our total, all of our scores, we’ve never scored this high since we’ve been doing competitive cheer for the last 15 years. So, they are legitimately one of the best teams to ever come out of this program,” said Lasak.
“We’re super excited and super ready to take on what we think we deserve. We’re tired of people saying ‘ well, you’re just from the U.P.” well just want to show you what the U.P. can bring to the table. We’re not just seven girls. We’re 7 girls with amazing talent and we want to show everyone that,” concluded Donnelly.