Cheerleaders are saying their goodbyes to FNL and welcoming competition season


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By: Brooklyn Eliseo, Staff Reporter

The cheerleaders at the big rivalry game against Braden River earlier in the football season. Photo Credit: Don Keller

Friday Night Lights are known to have cheerleaders throughout the season but nobody really knows what goes on after the football season is over. Sideline cheer is a more flexible, stress-free environment for the cheer team that everyone sees weekly at the games. They will be finishing up supporting their football team within the next few weeks when playoffs come to an end. This means the competition season is quickly approaching and will begin in early December.

Cheerleading is a big part of high school for many athletes around the Manatee High campus and they take it very seriously to keep up the reputation they have created in the past decades. Unfortunately, three seasons ago they lost their four-year State winning streak and are still fighting to get it back. This circumstance makes it important for them to train harder each and every season.

To achieve their goal of winning State again, they could use the support of their classmates, friends, and family throughout the competition season to come and cheer them on like they normally do for everyone else. They will compete in competitions all around Florida so there are many opportunities to come out and see their routine. The most commonly populated one people come and see the Manatee High cheerleaders at is the fair in January. Until then, they will compete against many other high schools from other regions who are all fighting for the same thing, a bid to the National Championship held at ESPN Sports Complex in Orlando, Florida from February 8th-10th.

Photograph of the Varsity cheer team before warming up and competing at State. Photo Credit: Stephanie Hymes

All athletes and spectators know what it is like to compete but not everyone knows the difference between sideline and competitive cheer. Sideline cheer is more so of a way for the athletes to bond and support their school. They are always seen in the background but never get that full spotlight moment like the Marching ‘Canes and Sugar’Canes do during their half-time performance at the football games.

“Sideline cheer is a lot of fun but competition cheer is where it gets more intense and exciting and I’m looking forward to all our added competitions this year,” states Varsity cheerleader, Kaylee Cobb.

Yes, that is right. There are more competitions this year for the Manatee High cheerleaders to succeed and represent our school in a great way. A difference in the team that changes between now and then is the true work ethic of the girls and coaches. There is no time to waste this season which leaves the girls with tasks to get done and deadlines to achieve in order to put out the best routine they possibly can. The routine not only involves cheering with pom poms, there is much more that goes into making it a whole production. The time frame is two minutes and thirty seconds to do multiple stunts where the flyer is getting thrown into the air while forming her body different ways, tumbling where they flip until they see stars, jumps that will blow your socks off, and a dance that will get the crowd engaged. Their music is focused on redemption and being unstoppable which seems to match their mindset for the upcoming months.

Competition Schedule:

December 1: UCA Regionals @ Florida State Fairgrounds in Tampa, Florida

December 8: Bishop Moore “Hornet Classic Cheerleading Competition” @ Bishop Moore High School

December 15: Bartow High School “Chase the State Competition” @ Bartow High School

January 11: FHSAA State Regionals @ Plant City High School (Varsity Only)

January 21: Manatee County Fair Competition @ Manatee County Fairgrounds

January 31/February 1: FHSAA State Competition (Varsity Only) in Gainesville, Florida

February 8-10: UCA National Cheerleading Competition @ ESPN Sports Complex in Orlando, Florida

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Cheerleaders are saying their goodbyes to FNL and welcoming competition season