Skyline cheerleaders win awards despite coronavirus restrictions

Ruby Howell
Pratt Tribune
Members of the Skyline High School cheer squad that recently won a Game Day Cheer competition award include seniors- Kyrian Keeling and Cassidy Spease; juniors- Sophie Bricker, Averey Haskett, Brock McKennon, Alea Nelson and Kylie Schere; sophomores- Monika Castillo, Ashton Gatton, Bailey Hittle and Randi Hoffman; and freshmen- Kealy Hammond.

The Skyline High School cheerleaders earned 2nd place in the state in the 1A/2A Division for Game Day Cheer this year. This is the fourth year that the State of Kansas has crowned high school cheerleading champions similar to any of the sports championships. 

With COVID-19 issues looming this year, the championship competitions went virtual, which meant that instead of going to Topeka to compete live, the team had to video their routine at school and upload it to be judged. 

For the Skyline Thunderbird cheerleaders, their season was especially difficult. Throughout the fall sports season, there were only two times when the team got to cheer with the whole squad. The squad was hardest hit after state volleyball when the majority of the team ended up either testing positive or in quarantine as a close contact. 

They were able to cheer  at the final football playoff game of the season this year, but with only 3 out of the total 12 cheerleaders due to COVID-19. This happened three weeks prior to state cheer competitions so that left the team scrambling. 

However, Head Coach Kim Lee and Assistant Coach Angie Tobin knew that if they could get the whole team together, their chances of placing were high. Finally, two days before the video of the routine was to be submitted, 10 out of 12 cheerleaders were able to practice, and the next day all 12 were able to meet, and they got their video submitted the next day. 

“I’m super proud of how they fought their way through this trying time and never gave up,” Lee said. “It would have been easy to just say it wasn’t meant to be this year, but they showed a lot of grit and determination, and I’m so glad to see them rewarded for their efforts.” 

The Skyline cheerleaders plan to have some sort of award ceremony at the high school when the medals and trophy arrive, but they are unsure when that will be exactly.

Members of the squad this year include: seniors - Kyrian Keeling and Cassidy Spease; juniors - Sophie Bricker, Averey Haskett, Brock McKennon, Alea Nelson and Kylie Schere; sophomores - Monika Castillo, Ashton Gatton, Bailey Hittle and Randi Hoffman; and freshmen - Kealy Hammond.