The search for a spirited squad


Hickory Ridge High School holds cheerleading tryouts, selects squad

By Christie Barlow
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School spirit seems to be on the mind of many who will be attending Hickory Ridge in the fall. Students, coaches, athletes and student council executive board are already trying to come up with ways of welcoming everyone and building a community. Kay Love isn’t hoping that school spirit will develop over time, she’s hoping to have a hand in it from the beginning.

Hickory Ridge High School Cheerleading tryouts took place last week at Pitts School Road Elementary and Love, the head cheerleading coach, was on hand to select both the varsity and JV squads for next year. Around 36 girls tried out for the squad. Love hopes to carry 12 girls on both the varsity and JV, with an additional two alternates on each team.

The girls were taught sideline chants and cheers and a fight song routine and were asked to execute them from memory over the course of the tryouts. In addition, they were scored on their tumbling and jumps. Overall, Love was impressed with the amount of talent that she had to choose from.

“I was very excited to see that most girls had some type of cheerleading training,” Love said. “I was very, very impressed overall.”

Love, who will work in the front office at Hickory Ridge, will serve as the head coach of the varsity cheerleading squad. She comes from a strong background in cheering, having spent 12 years coaching for a national cheering organization, six years coaching all-star teams, serving as assistant cheerleading coach at Appalachian State University and spending several years coaching at the high school level.

“It’s been several years since I’ve coached high school cheerleading,” Love said. “I’ve coached at many different levels. I’m really excited to (coach high school) again. It’s really neat to have a purpose and be out there cheering for a team.”

Cheering on the schools teams and building school spirit are two of the most important aspects of the squad, Love said. Although the squad is responsible for cheering at only football and basketball games, the teams will be responsible for attending all the schools sporting events.

The squad’s main goal will be to build school spirit and help build enthusiasm at sporting events and within the school, Love said.

Those who tried out were excited to get in front of the crowds at football and basketball games, said Megan Gibson, a rising eleventh grader who currently attends Central Cabarrus High School.

“We’ve all been (cheering) our entire middle school and high school careers,” Gibson said. “This is one way to represent school and get its name out there as being the best.”

Both Gibson and Love are optimistic about the squads chances of competing with the more established schools. Gibson said that the chance to start new traditions and try new things will set them apart from other high schools. Love is looking forward to developing the level of talent that she will get with the squads, she said.

“The ability and talent level is very high,” Love said. “It’s not an easy decision. That’s a good thing for me. There are lots of very talented girls that will make a good team. I definitely think we will be up at the top (of the competition).”

• Contact Christie Barlow at [email protected] or 704-789-9140.

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