The Mercury

BFA cheerleaders earn trip to New Hampshire

Alek Wolfe, Asst. Editor

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For virtually every BFA athletic team, there is usually a championship game or competition where the main goal is to be victorious and come home with the title. These events often take place in different parts of the Green Mountain state. After the championship games, the winter, fall, or spring season is over with.

This year however, the BFA Varsity Cheerleading team’s season was extended for another month so the team could get ready for the 12th annual New England Regionals competition.  The cheerleading national are coordinated through the Vermont Principals’ Association (VPA,) which also administers all of the team sports for Vermont.

“In order to go to the New Englands, you have to score a 150 or higher at one of the competitions. We had qualified for that early in the season. You also needed to be top 3 in your division so we placed second in our division which is division 2,” Tanya Lovely, BFA Varsity Cheerleading coach, said.

Lovely has been Varsity Cheerleading coach since former coach Stacie Rouleau retired at the end of the 2016-2017 cheer season. The cheerleading squad consists of a total number of nine girls and one male.

Each individual on the team has one or two jobs at all times. There are 5 flyers, 4 bases, one front spot and one back spot. The girl that is up in the air is called the flyer. They are the ones who are up in the air most of the time. The bases are the girls who hold the flyer up for support. The back spot supports the base with holding the flyer up by holding her ankle. The front spot supports the base in the front with the flyer.

“My favorite part of cheer is the connections you make with people on your team because you’re forced to put all of your trust into every person on your teams and that creates friendships that last a lifetime,” Kaylah Sailer (‘18), said.

Sailer is a base on the BFA cheer team and has been cheering since seventh grade. She took a break after her first year to focus more on her dancing. However, she came back as a Junior to finish out her final two years of high school with the cheer team.

“We have definitely had our ups and downs but overall I’m glad to end my last season with this team and I’m very proud of everything that we’ve accomplished,” Sailer said.

This wasn’t the first time the BFA Cheer team has gone to Regionals. It was back in 2015, that they went to the competition.

“It was a much different team, they had a different competitiveness about them. So they had extremely high expectations on their performance that unfortunately didn’t go as well. I think for this team they are more in it for the experience of going. They’re a very talented team,” Lovely said.

This year, the New England Regionals were held on Saturday March 17th at the University of Southern New Hampshire. There were a total of 20 teams in BFA’s division which is division 2.

Before BFA headed out to perform they were given 5 minutes to stretch and go over last-minute skills. Then, it was off to the practice mat to fix anything that needed to be fixed with the stunts. After the 5 minutes, the performance kicked off with their opening stunt. The stunt was where two girls were holding another girl’s hand in their elbow. Then the girl was flipped up into a hand stand in the air. The girl was then thrown into the air and went into a Liberty (Lib) stunt.

“It’s when the flyer starts with one foot on the ground with the bases holding the other, and we go up and we push them up into a one-legged stunt,” Sailer said.

The routine is then followed up by a basket toss, where the girl is thrown up into the air and caught a few times.

“I like the concept of knowing that I can lift a human in the air, that’s pretty cool. I just have a sense of pride in knowing what my team mates and I can do physically,” Francesca Richard (‘18) said. Richard is also a base on the team along with Sailer.

According to the VPA website, all cheer routines for games and competitions must be 2 to 3 minutes long. If the routines are longer or shorter than 3 minutes during the competition, points are taken off the score for the team.

“It was a big step up from our state competition, there were some very advanced teams which made feel like it wasn’t a high school cheer competition. It was mind blowing to see what the other teams could do,” Richard said.

To do what these girls do, one would think that you would need to be in a harness or on cables. But for cheerleading the flyers and the other girls aren’t hooked up to any equipment. Injuries such as concussions and other bruises have occurred while performing.

“You would think the most dangerous job would be the flyer but as a base or back spot, our hands are always covered in bruises after a competition or practice because the flyers we catch, wear their shoes at all times. So there is always a little blood,” Richard said.

BFA earned 19th place in the regionals competition. While they didn’t come home with the title, all the girls were very excited to use this experience as a learning opportunity to improve the squad.

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BFA cheerleaders earn trip to New Hampshire