Pratt, Skyline cheer squads selected by virtual tryouts

Kahrie Stegman
Pratt cheerleading coach Kristen Hodgkinson evaluates team contenders online instead of in person this year for cheerleading tryouts.

For the first time in either school’s history, Pratt and Skyline High Schools held their cheer tryouts virtually because of social distancing this year.

Pratt candidates

For Pratt High candidates, their tryouts were held over Google Classroom, where videos of a cheer, chant, and sideline dance were uploaded. The candidates were responsible for watching and learning the performances on their own. Before this year, in-person clinics were held for the students to learn the material as a group.

“Holding tryouts this way created many new obstacles for the students to overcome,” said PHS Head Cheer Coach Melissa Rector. “In the past, clinics were held where the students were taught the material, given feedback and tips on ways to improve from the coaches, and relying on fellow candidates for feedback and encouragement. Since social distancing prevented these clinics to be held, students had to learn completely on their own.”

After the candidates recorded a video of themselves performing, they submitted their videos to Google Classroom to be considered for evaluation.

“Coach (Kristen) Hodgkinson and I were both very impressed with the grit and perseverance of the students,” Rector said. “I didn't know what to expect, especially from those trying out that have never cheered on the high school level, however as I watched the tryout videos, I was impressed and excited to think about what next year might hold for our Greenback squad.”

Making the 2020-21 PHS Fall Varsity Squad were Airam Fernandez, Allie Hunt, Breckyn Miller, Crystal James, Gaby Heredia, Jadyn Thompson, Kas Heredia, Kayla Espino, Kena Sterling, Kierra Messick, Maggie Haas, Olivia Arensdorf, and Sterling Rector.

On the 2020-21 PHS Winter Varsity Squad are Airam Fernandez, Allie Hunt, Breckyn Miller, Crystal James, Eli Staats, Kami Theis, Kas Heredia, Kayla Espino, Maggie Haas, Olivia Arensdorf, and Sterling Rector.

Anna Lamatsch, Cheyenne Slaughter, Jaelynn Bridges, Kamie Haddon, Kari FitzSimmons, and Olivia Gallaugher made the 2020-21 PHS JV Squad for both fall and winter sports.

The squad is planning to have a camp on June 4-5, but they are unsure if they will be able to meet.

“With Covid-19, we are anxiously waiting to hear if and when we will be able to gather and begin working for the next school year,” Rector said.

Skyline squads

For Skyline High School Students, information went out to all high school students via email. Those interested trying out had their permission slips to Coach Kim Lee by March 31.

Similar to Pratt High students, Skyline candidates learned their material by video.

“The kids really had to be self motivated this year more than ever, but all those who tried out had everything learned,” Lee said.

Skyline tryouts were competitive this year.

“We had 16 candidates trying out for 12 spots and every person trying out had cheer experience whether in middle school or in high school,” Lee said.

Varsity Spirit, a global cheer organization, provided judges and all tryout material for the students to learn. The three judges who chose the squad were all state directors for either NCA (National Cheerleaders Association) or UCA (Universal Cheerleaders Association).

Seniors making the squad were Kyrian Keeling, and Cassidy Spease, juniors Sophie Bricker, Averey Haskett, Brock McKennon, Alea Nelson, and Kylie Scherer, sophomores Monika Castillo, Ashton Gatton, Bailey Hittle, and Randi Hoffman, and freshman Kealy Hammond.

The team is now holding virtual meetings to make plans for the coming school year.