On Feb. 29, West Henderson’s competitive cheer team came through with a first place win at their competition at the U.S. Cellular Center in Asheville. This is their third competition this season and their second win.

“It was very exciting, and I felt so accomplished,” sophomore Karly Powers said. “We had worked so hard for this.”

The team practices on Saturdays for four hours, and they sometimes practice during the week as well. They have been preparing for these competitions since last summer.

There are 16 girls on the team in varying grade levels, and over the season they have done many team building activities to build their relationships.

“We’re all really close,” freshman Kate Leonard said. “I didn’t know half of the cheerleaders before the season. Now we are so close and so dependent on each other we are like a family.”

Interior design teacher Brittany Willis has been coaching competition cheer for the two years West has been offering it. She has coached football and basketball cheer in the past, but competition cheer was something new for her.

“It’s stressful,” Willis said. “Dedication is one of our biggest struggles. The girls skip practice sometimes and it throws off our dynamic, but we worked it out to come out with a win.”

Willis comes along with the girls to all their competitions and cheers them on. She is there with the girls when they are announced the winners.

“It feels really good,” Willis said. “It’s vindication, all this time that we’ve spent has been worth it. Seeing the girls so proud of what they’ve done is so different and amazing.”

By: Ashley Mullis, Staff Writer

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