Shown above is the 2013-2014 Elsberry R-II Football Cheer Squad. They are, in no particular order Krista Giannakis, Paige Hoskins (Captain), Meredith Hood (Co-Captain), Zena Pappan and Brittany O’Brien.
This very well could be the year for the Elsberry Cheer Squad at least that is how Cheer Advisor Reagan Skaggs sees it.
“I think we have a fantastic group of five girls for the football cheer squad this season,” said Skaggs. “They’re energetic, they work really hard and we’ve had a lot of practices already this summer.”
Over the summer the girls attended a Summer Cheer Camp and according to Skaggs, there has been little drama and all the girls are working hard and most importantly together.
Leading the squad this year are Elsberry Cheer Captain Paige Hoskins and Co-Captain Meredith Hood.
“I think they have done a great job taking the reins this year and they have stepped into their positions well,” said Skaggs. “Doesn’t seem like either one of them have had a problem stepping into their roles.”
In the past, Skaggs said her biggest pet peeve has been the squads grouping and not doing it by age, not sticking together or not working together as one team. This year at camp, however, they have not only worked together, but have sat together, cheered together, ate together and shown their abilities to work as a team.
“It almost brought tears to my eyes,” said Skaggs. “It is already so much different then what we’ve seen in the past to a point where they are even working on stunts.”
Skaggs went on to say that’s not to say last year’s squad didn’t do their job, but how there was a lack of unity throughout the team. To ensure the team doesn’t revert back to old habits, the squad has implemented some new rules such as a three strike rule. If a member is late for the bus, doesn’t pull their weight on the squad or isn’t doing their job period, they will receive three warnings. After the three warnings they are off the squad.
Some other changes made were keeping open communications. Hood said there were issues in the past of kids talking about other kids when they weren’t present. This year, she say’s if there is a problem to be addressed it is done as a team, depending on the severity of the problem.
“Last year we started with rules and by the end of the year they weren’t really being dealt with,” explained Skaggs. “But this year we’ve already started with rules and are seeing them be enforced.”
The other big thing Hoskins is enforcing this season is the look of the team. While last year some squad members were wearing their hair up and others down, or certain articles of clothing weren’t matching the rest of the squad, this year everyone is to be identical; same bows, same shoes, same socks, same Spankies.
“Last year we were super unorganized and during the football season no one was really getting along,” said Hoskins. “This year we want to work with Clopton better than we did last year and we also want to stunt, which is something we are already working on. Not stunting was just making us look bad, in my opinion, so this year we are working on some moves that will break that image and hopefully place us among the best.”
Hoskins added that they want to look more advanced and be something more than just an Elsberry School. According to her, she wants them to be more of a competitive school and bring home some trophies this year. By the end of the football season, she said she would like to see three stunt groups between themselves and Clopton. She added that she would also like to see some basket tosses, extensions and stuff they can also do during the basketball season.
According to Hood, her role as a leader will be done more by example than anything.
“There were too many issues last year and the years before and I want to see how well we can do by working with one another rather than against one another,” said Hood. “I’ve worked with this squad for years, as has Paige, so we know what we can do. We have the advantage this year because we both see what we need to fix and what it’s going to take to get us where we want to be and I think we have the group to do it.”
Joining the Elsberry Cheer Squad this season is Krista Giannakis, who is also a competitive cheerleader, Zena Pappan and Brittany O’Brien.
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