One thing seemed clear as Pahrump Valley Junior Trojans cheerleaders assembled Saturday at Petrack Park: Once you start cheerleading, you come back.
At least that was the vibe among several of the young cheerleaders at a preseason combine. That attribute extends to the coaches.
“I was a cheerleader in high school and I really enjoyed it, and it helped with my self-esteem so I’m passionate about it,” said Mary Wilson, the squad’s coach. “I want to help give that to the girls.”
Almost 30 girls were there Saturday, which assistant coach Misty Winkler said is a good number for a group that will form three teams, divided by age groups. Winkler has the same feeling about the cheerleading bug.
“We do have returners from last year,” she said. “A lot of them are newbies, too, but I’m sure they’ll be back next year.”
The combination of new and veteran cheerleaders helps, Winkler said.
“We have some that retained a lot of information from last year, and they are actually being mentors for the other children,” she said.
Some of those young veterans just know they’re having fun.
“I love the games. They’re fun,” said three-year cheerleader Mackenzie Alvarez, 12, who said it is possible to watch the games and cheer at the same time.
But you can’t do everything at the same time, she said.
“There were two sports I wanted to do, and it was either cheer or soccer,” Alvarez recalled. “And I chose cheer.”
The opportunity to do things with friends is another draw for the cheerleaders.
“One of my friends starting doing it, so I wanted to join,” said Kaylee Baker, who at 9 years old is already a fourth-year cheerleader. “I like to spend time with friends and being at the games.”
Wilson, in her third year of coaching, but first as head coach, said that the fun parts of cheerleading don’t get in the way of actually cheerleading.
“They seem to respond very well,” Wilson said. “Last year, we had a great squad by the end of the season, and they did awesome at the performance they do every year at the end.”
It helps that the routines are not over the heads of the young cheerleaders.
“I like doing all the cheers,” said 10-year-old Evangeline Wilson. “The cheers are really fun,” and not hard to learn.
The Junior Trojans will begin their football season Sept. 1, and the cheerleaders will be ready to take the field when they do.
“So far we have a really good start,” Wilson said. “I see some naturals, and I’m really looking forward to getting going.”
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