LINCOLN CITY — Over the weekend, the Lincoln City competition cheer team earned two third-place finishes at South Albany High School.
The girls, both Junior and Mini teams, faced off with some of the best cheer teams in the area.
“The competitions keep growing in size as we keep approaching the OE Classic and get closer to the Oregon Cheerleading Coaches Association Cheerleading Championships,” head coach Tonia Anderson said. “Every team wants that opportunity to hit the mat and to be judged to know what they need to work on prior to those events.”
The season is winding down for the girls, but the stakes only get higher from here. But Anderson and her staff only expect the girls to do their best and everything else will fall into place.
“Judges are looking for a solid routine that hits,” Anderson said. “I feel that when the Juniors hit, they know it. When they miss, they know it.”
Both the older and younger teams earned a third-place finish, but the cheerleaders from Lincoln City are always after the best finish possible. The Junior team may have higher expectations because they are older, but the Mini team still goes out to every competition and puts on a show.
“We can't predict what will take place with every stunt. With every jump sequence and with every tumbling pass, we hold our breath,” Anderson said. “We kneel in front of the mat, and we are their biggest supporting fan for two-and-a-half minutes. Every competition going forward is going to get harder. Each team is going to have to push to reach their goals and this is what they have been working for.”
For Anderson, the third-place finish is indicative to the smaller sizes for both the Mini and Junior team. Compared to some other teams, Lincoln City doesn’t have the numbers, so when they hit the mat, it’s usually with seven cheerleaders. This allows judges to see even the simplest mistake.
“So, if one person is off in the jump segment, it lowers your score. Tumbling is another that hurts us,” Anderson said. “We have two girls who do tumble, but some of these other teams have advanced tumbling that score higher. In order for us to get our team tumbling help, we have to travel out of the area, another out-of-pocket expense.”
The teams got the results, will analyze what they did well and what they didn’t, and move on. It’s a cycle for the girls, but one that they are used to and thrive in.
“These young ladies know that they leave it all on the mat. They know that if they can't be proud of what they leave on the mat that day then they shouldn't step onto it,” Anderson said. “We can't say how a judge from OCCA is going to judge us or why someone that got more deductions than us took home the trophy above us. What we can say is that we leave our all on that mat. We teach our cheerleaders be proud of yourselves, win or lose.”
Lastly, the girls are still looking for a place to call their own. Cheerleading is a demanding sport and without a proper home for nurturing talent and expanding the team, the Lincoln City cheer team could fall behind other programs in the area.
“We just need someone in the community to see what we see in these young ladies. We have not been able to find a space yet. We have done a social media search as well, but no hits. I have sent a letter to the current space we are in asking if they would be willing to work with us,” Anderson said.