The Yukon cheer squad placed sixth overall in the 6A division at the cheerleading state championships Saturday at the Lloyd Noble Center on the campus of the University of Oklahoma in Norman.
It was the final state competition for seniors Aspen Holder, Channa Hines and Julia McGuire. McGuire said she felt like Saturday’s routine was the best performance of the year for the Yukon cheer team.
“I think we performed better than we have all year,” McGuire said. “Except for one mistake, I thought we did really well. Preparing for so long and putting in the hours we have put in since May for just one competition is very challenging.”
Hines echoed McGuire’s comments.
“You only get one chance,” Hines said. “There is a lot of pressure but I think we handled it well on Saturday.”
Holder said the nerves are high when the team is waiting in the tunnel for their chance to get on the mat, but once they get out there, the nerves go away.
“The entire walk from the tunnel to the mat is very nerve-racking,” Holder said. “I feel like once we step from the basketball court to the mat we are ready to go. It becomes second nature and we just go perform.”
Even though Yukon had a mistake during the routine on Saturday, McGuire said it was important that they kept their composure.
“We have trained ourselves that if we do make a mistake, we have to make up for it with the rest of the routine,” McGuire said. “You have to try and earn those points back and stay sharp and don’t let it stop you.”
Now that the state competition has passed, the focus now shifts to the National Cheer Association national championships in Dallas in January.
The Yukon cheerleaders will take this week off to rest and let their bodies recuperate from the state preparation but next week, they will begin practice for the national competition.
“We aren’t sure what division we are going to be competing in yet,” McGuire said. “More than likely, we will compete in the intermediate or advanced division.”
Yukon did not go to the national competition last year but two years ago, they went and won the national championship in the novice division, which is a step lower than the intermediate and advanced divisions.
Holder said one of the more difficult things to prepare for with nationals is they don’t know who their competition will be in Dallas.
“At state, we know going in who we are going to beat,” Holder said. “But down in nationals, we don’t know until we get down there and see what everyone’s score is after the first day.”
Hines said there a lot of Texas teams at the event but there is competition from every state.
“I feel like most of the competition will be from Texas but there a lot of teams from Oklahoma who go down and compete and other states as well,” Hines said.
Yukon will go down and do their best to compete to win and bring home another cheerleading national title but Holder said it will be a fun trip for the squad as well.
“It’s kind of like a last hoorah,” Holder said. “It will be our last competition at the high school level as seniors, so we will make it a fun trip and do our best to win.”