In the fall, Manchester Valley’s cheerleading squad made history by taking home the county title for the first time in the program’s history. While trying to achieve the same success in the winter, it wasn’t as easy as just using the same team and strategy as before. There were a lot of players churning from season to season, thus winning again wasn’t guaranteed.
Yet, the Mavericks improved as a team over the year and ended up winning their second consecutive county title.
“It wasn’t really expected. It’s a pretty new team, we had some returners, some kids came up from JV to varsity this season,” coach Tabetha Harding said.
“Honestly, at the beginning of the season, we weren’t really sure if we were going to be able to field a competitive varsity team. But this group of kids really came together. They really rely on one another and they grew so much this season.”
“We have a couple of all-star kids who don’t cheer in the winter, then we have two girls who wrestle in the winter instead of cheer. But we had a couple of new kids who didn’t cheer in the fall, one played volleyball, and another played soccer. It was a whole new team, whole new routine.”
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The winter roster includes newcomer Morgan Mitchell, who will compete at the varsity level.
“I think we all got close and found the common goal,” She said.
“It wasn’t necessarily to win, but it was to put out our best work. I think when you have a team of people all on the same page, plus the confidence boost of winning counties in the fall, it gave us so much confidence and motivation moving forward.”
Despite being a very inexperienced team, the Mavericks proudly identified as county champions.
“I think overall, I knew the kids wore it on our shoulders,” Harding said.
“‘You’re the reigning champs, so that says a lot about you, especially to win twice in one year.’ So I think to carry that with them, that was really their drive.”
“It’s kind of all connected,” Mitchell said.
“Though it can be different people, you’re all under the same title. Us winning in the fall definitely continued over when we had to compete in the winter.”
But, they became easy targets after being labeled as such. The athletes, though, were up to the task, giving it their all in spite of stiff opposition.
“There was a lot of pressure because we didn’t want to decline after winning in the fall,” Mitchell said.
“So we really thought it was important to win a second time in a row, but not just to win, but to put up a performance we were proud of and represented all the hard work we’ve been doing.”
The Mavericks repeated their success from the previous season by claiming another county championship, and they even went one step further by finishing second in the Class 3A West Regional and earning a trip to the state tournament. The Mavericks’ season came to a close on Tuesday at Harford Community College, where they finished sixth in Class 3A.
“Last fall, we had a stunt fall at regionals, which isn’t characteristically common for these kids,” Harding said.
“That is honestly what took us out of the running. … This season they really drilled their stunts. They are confident in what they put on the floor. They know, when we go out there, there’s a high-percentage chance we are hitting.”
Harding has stated that they work together extensively to perfect their act before each competition.
“I’m all about the coaches and athletes working together,” Harding said.
“We don’t dictate practices or routines. We give the kids a lot of input in the routines because they’re the ones competing. Whatever they’re confident in is what I want put out on the floor.”
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