HIGHLAND SPRINGS, VA (WWBT) - If you attend a Highland Springs football or basketball game, you’ll no doubt notice the cheerleaders on the sidelines or on the baseline, rallying support for the Springers.
While the aforementioned programs at the high school have experienced success, the Highland Springs cheerleaders have made a pretty strong name for themselves as well.
Some people are of the mindset that cheerleading is not a sport. Take a listen to the training regiment of these athletes and it might have those people thinking again.
“It was the first week, therefore it was conditioning week. I died,” recalled senior Taylor Richardson.
“Some of them end crying, some of them end just broken, bruised,” added head coach Christie Tyson. “It is very hard throughout the season.”
“Everything that you would see a football player do, other than all the pads and all that, yeah, we would be doing that,” said Georgio Haskins, a freshman on the team.
The Springers practice year-round, training for four hours daily during the summer and at least three hours per day during the school year. In addition to perfecting their routines and movements, running and conditioning are also big parts of their training. It certainly isn’t just an activity for the athletes, rather a commitment. Coach Tyson and her staff hammer home the importance of hard work and attention to detail in an effort to have the 18 cheerleaders move together as one.
“[The coaches] take this serious, so they teach us to take it serious,” said Haskins. “If we don’t, then we’re not going to be good, so they drill that into our brain.”
“Cheerleading is life,” Richardson said. “It’s six days out of the week and practice makes permanent, therefore we practice all the time.”
The hard work is paying off. Highland Springs just won its fourth straight national championship, as the Springers have established themselves as a national powerhouse. Stomp and shake is the style, which Tyson describes as traditional cheerleading with a little more flavor, and her squad has now stomped and shaken their way to the top.
“We have a lot of teams that look up to us now,” the head coach observed. "Coming into our first year, we were the ones looking up to the teams that were there, so it’s a great experience.
For many of these student-athletes, cheerleading is a sport with which they’ve fallen in love. Some of them will continue with it at the college level, others will not, but they’ll all leave the Highland Springs program with lifelong lessons and memories.
“Even though they graduate and move on from here, this is a lot of things they can take onto college, they can take into the real world,” said Tyson. Respect, having integrity... Just talking to them as young ladies, it’s a lot of things that we do to build them up as young women."
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