Lake Brantley Cheer Gets Competitive


Photo provided by: Provided by Competitive Cheer Team

The Lake Brantley competitive cheerleaders on Feb 4 at States in Gainesville, FL. Brantley finished 4th in the nation at their States competition on Sunday.

Elizabeth Burns, Journalism 1 Reporter

Cheerleading, a sport that is overlooked.  Competitive and demanding are two words that describe the world of cheerleading.  This year, for the first time in a long time Lake Brantley High School is offering a competitive cheer team. The competitive team has the privilege of going to states during their debut year.  There are two different types of competitive cheer, there is all-star competitive which is more of a club and high school competitive which is connected to the school and sponsored by Lake Brantley.  Competitive coach, Andrea Lesko expresses feelings on her first year as a cheer coach at Brantley.

“With competitive cheer it’s been exciting being the first year in a very long time, and being able to open up that opportunity for all of those athletes here because we do have so many talented athletes in that respect have been fun,” Lesko said. “There have been challenges because it is that first year and even though its cheerleading its different than sideline cheer so it’s kind of been finding out some of those you know bumps along the way but overall it’s been a wonderful experience.”

The competitive team for high school has shown great progress so far by being able to attend states their first year.  Both coaches and athletes are very hopeful and excited for the outcome of the competition.  The competition is scheduled to happen on Feb 4 in Gainesville, Florida.

“At states I feel hopeful nothing obviously is guaranteed we are in the semis which means we are going up against nine other teams in our category and only one of those teams will get to move on” Lesko said, “to finals so it’s hopeful and do-able, we have the talent and the routine to be able to do it.  It’s just being able to execute it in those two and a half minutes on that particular day, but I am hopeful and would not be surprised if we get to move onto finals.”

Both All-star and high school competition teams are similar in ways but also very different.  The high school’s competitive squad is filled with individuals who have a wide range of different abilities such as tumbling and stunting meanwhile All-star is organized in a way so that everyone on the team have the same skills required for their levels.  Having everyone with the same skills makes making a routine easier than having walk-ons with a variety of skills.

Katie Turkelson
Video by: Katie Turkelson

“Some of the main differences are that in high school competitive cheer you are going to get people with differing levels of ability where in all-star you are grouped together by your skill level so it is slightly easier to make a routine for that particular group because everybody on that particular squad can do these types of stunts or these types of tumbling or abilities,” Lesko said,    “Where as in a high school competitive team, you are going to have a mixture of different levels and backgrounds, some may be coming from all-star and then others may be coming from a pop- warner background some having a gymnastics background so it is taking all of those skill levels and trying to blend them together and make a co-adhesive routine that will showcase what you needed to showcase but also hit the certain skills that you need to be able to showcase for that routine.”

There are some things that tend to happen more in All-star rather than high school. For example, in high school cheerleaders must show school spirit and try to pep up the crowd as well, where as in All-star cheer all cheerleaders must do is showcase their skills and smile.  Athletes such as Kaitlyn Artigas a freshman competitive cheerleader express that even though Brantley’s team is very laid back that she would prefer the feel of how in all-star she does not have to show spirit and keep the crowd yelling.

“I prefer All-star because I can just smile through showing off my skills,” Artigas said. “Rather than trying to keep the crowd pumped up.”