Lake Brantley cheer: the road to greatness


Photo provided by: Madalyn Propst

Lake Brantley High School Cheer, hyping up the boys varsity basketball game.

Nairie De Gregory, Staff Reporter

Football games are known for many things: food, crowds and cheerleaders. The cheer team’s work livens sporting events, but is also appreciated in its own spotlight during the competition season. Competition cheer is a sport that relies on precision, teamwork and cleanliness. One person’s misstep can affect the entire team.

 “Cheer is unlike any other sport,” competition cheer coach Andrea Lesko said. “You have two minutes and 30 seconds for every single person and aspect of the routine to be perfect. There is no next play, next down, no second half comeback. You have one opportunity to literally lift human beings in the air, have them do tricks while they are up there, yell a cheer at the top of your lungs, dance like your life depends on it and do a full squad pyramid, and make it look effortless. When that does happen, you know that it has taken hundreds and hundreds of hours of practice to achieve that. To say it is challenging is an understatement.” 

Competition day can always be a bit stressful. Worrying about hitting the pyramid or making sure the choreography is down pat is still a concern for the national champions. 

“Throughout the routine I’m so nervous and tired,” senior Kyrie Andes said. “But it helps when I think about the fact that it will all be worth it.” 

Even the Lady Patriots’ coach feels the pressure on competition days. Lesko plans for many issues so that cheerleaders are less worried leading up to their performance.

“On competition day, I am in logistics mode of making sure we have all of our props, we are getting there on time and that all the athletes feel their best,” Lesko said. “However, when we start going through our warm-up it’s all business. Running through stunts, pointing out things that need to be corrected before we take the mat and looking for those tiniest details that could make the difference. When the team takes the mat, I always run their music. I think I am more nervous/excited than the team is. My hands are shaking and when the music starts, I am jumping up and down, counting out the time and yelling the cheer as loud as I can. I am always proud, because I know each person gives their very best.” 

This year, the team has been given their share of obstacles. But even through all of this Brantley cheer squad has continued to shine through. 

“I am very proud of our team this year,” Lesko said. “We are a young team and have a lot of different levels of cheer experience. We have made great improvements throughout the season and have placed first twice this season and finished second at Regionals and are heading straight to the finals at the State Championship on Feb. 4. We are continuing to put in the work as we prepare for States and will leave everything on the mat.” 

With all of the time that cheerleaders have poured in, they are excited to showcase their abilities as a team.

“Our season is going amazing and we have made a lot of progress through our struggles,” Andes said. “I’m proud of all of the progress through constructive criticism.” 

The bond that these girls walk away with is highly memorable. Cheer has allowed these girls to form bonds they would not have otherwise.

“I admire this team for many things, but their bond, competitive spirit and their willingness to put in the work are unmatched,” Lesko said. “They are always ready to do one more rep, push each other to the next level and are not satisfied with good, we want greatness.”