With all the talk about who is going to do what this year and what will each team do, focus should be made on the 2013-2014 Elsberry Cheer Squad, who has assured this will be unlike any other year.
Taking on the role as Captain is Paige Hoskins, who has become rather vocal in how she wants the team led. However, she did not want to share the responsibility alone and decided to bring on Kaity Grills as Co-Captain. According to Elsberry Cheer Coach Reagan Skaggs, Hoskins has made several decisions, not only as far as how the team looks and represents, but also in how they communicate and the routines they use.
“I feel like this squad has become more like a family,” said Skaggs. “We have really worked together and although we’ve had some trials that we went through, we actually worked together as a team, talked about everything and worked it all out as a group.”
According to Skaggs, one of the big problems she saw last year was a lack of team unity.
“There is no one on this team that is grouped out like we’ve seen in the past,” said Skaggs. “Last year, we had a lot of singling out, where some of the girls would hang out with some of the girls but not others. Not this year. I think people will be amazed at how well they are forming right now.”
A lot of that, Skaggs say’s she has to give to the determination and dedication of Hoskins and Grills.
“I decided to make Kaity co-captain because, one I had a lot of stress in trying to run an entire squad on my own and two she shares the same vision as I do in what we expect out of our team this year,” said Hoskins. “We want to win all of our meets, but Bowling Green especially.”
Bringing new cheers and stunts is only part of the their recent transformation. According to Skaggs, there are several girls doing their part in bringing new elements to the team.
“Krista Gianakis does competitive cheering, so she was able to show us a lot of new, innovative stunts, Skyla McNelly is our dance choreographer and has actually designed several of the new dances people will see this year,” said Hoskins.
Another big influence this year is the example being set by Grills, who has made it to every practice and has gone above and beyond to prove her dedication to the team.
“If I have to step away for a moment, she is right there to pick up the reigns,” said Hoskins. “She’s one of our oldest cheerleaders and has been with the squad for quite sometime, so she knows the flow of our group.”
Although an injury had her off the squad last year, Grills said it tore her up not being able to cheer.
“Being able to be back and work with girls like Hoskins is just an awesome experience,” said Grills. “Hoskins has really come out of her shell and I believe is moving us into a new, but good direction.”
Hoskins said a lot of her influence for this season comes from working under Tess Crenshaw my freshman year. Although she said last year was a bit of a struggle, she said she used that to work her hardest to become this year’s captain.
“When I got the spot, I almost cried,” said Hoskins. “I love being captain, I love my squad and this is by far one of my most memorable moments. “
Hoskins said her expectations this year is to have other schools see them and thrive to do what they do. Skaggs said, that is something they have been able to see already, as they were helping other squads at cheer camp on some of their stunts.
“Last year we won nothing and the year before that we won one,” said Hoskins. “I want to be that squad that people look at and be like ‘oh my God, they’re amazing.’”
According to Hoskins, they have more cheers and stunts this year than any other year she knows of. For her, this years cheer squad isn’t just about being able to look back and say she was a captain. She wants to look back and say she helped pave the way for one of the best squads around.
“Come and help us cheer on our Elsberry Indians and Lady Indians,” said Hoskins. “We promise it will be a great experience.”