The North Laurel Middle School Cheerleading team is heading to KAPOS State Championship competition after placing first in the in the 13th Region’s Medium Division at KAPOS Regional Competition.
“I think they did really, really well. All of the girls on the squad are really, really young,” said Head Coach Terra Canada. “We have half of our team as sixth graders. So none of them have ever competed. Well, actually almost none of the girls have actually competed before. It was a really big deal for them to do so well considering how inexperienced a lot of them are.”
Canada, who is in her first season as a cheerleading coach, says that she was pleased with her squad’s ability to hit their marks and keep their routine clean. Her focus during the last couple of practices leading up to the regional competition was to have her squad focus on the smaller details of their routine and to not over look the little things.
“On our score sheet we ended up having no deductions, which is awesome. I think that’s one of the reasons that we won and it’s because we focused on all of those little things.”
The squad has been practicing on its routine since the first week of October, which according to Canada, isn’t very long in terms of cheerleading.
“We were actually a little late to the game. So again, my girls worked really hard. I think that’s another thing that made the difference is that they really wanted it and they worked hard every single day.”
“It’s kind of some place in the middle,” Canada said on the difficulty of her squad’s routine. “It’s not super, ridiculously difficult. Like I said, considering how young a lot of those girls are, it’s got some pretty difficult stuff in it.”
Canada says her squad will tweak their routine a little before December’s state competition.
“We probably won’t be making any drastic changes because we only have less than a month now. We’ll probably try to make it a little bit more difficult because our competition at state will be a little bit stiffer, there will be a lot more teams.”
Having never been to state competition, Canada says that she is excited for her squad to have had the experience of earning their way there. She thinks the experiences of winning their division at regions and making it to state will benefit her squad greatly in the future.
“We’re happy to go. Of course we want to do well, but we’re really in it for the experience as much as anything else. We want to go back again next year. But with this being their first year, we don’t want to count our eggs before they hatch.”
When asked what she enjoys about coaching, Canada said it was her squad above all else.
“I just really enjoy the girls. They’re a really great group of girls. Like I said, they worked really, really hard which makes my job a lot easier.”
Canada also enjoys watching her squad fall in love with the sport she fell in love with herself years ago.
“I [cheered] for a long time, I loved it. So I love to see younger girls also fall in love with it. It’s a sport that’s often misunderstood. People don’t know what all goes into it a lot of times.”
Canada says that she and her squad are thankful for the support they’ve received and that they credit it to part of their success this season.
“We have a really great group of girls. We have all of their parents, who are awesome. They do everything that they can to make us as coaches succeed and their girls succeed. Our school is really behind us, which is important.”
The KAPOS State Championship is scheduled for Saturday, Dec. 21 at Alltech Arena in Lexington.