Corner Canyon Cheer Hits Routines at State
By Julie Slama | Julie@mycityjournals.com
Draper - Either cheer teams hit the routine perfectly on the competition day or they don’t.
That’s how Corner Canyon Cheer Coach Whitney Lunt describes the fierce competition in high school cheer. Fortunately, Corner Canyon did well at the state cheer competition on Jan. 30, as the varsity team took second place and the junior varsity won their division.
“Every team has good tricks and routines that are competitive, so we are given one chance to do our two-and-a-half minute routine in front of judges,” Lunt said. “They are an incredible group of girls, and I’m very proud of them for all of the work that they put in for this season.”
Principal Mary Bailey said it has been a successful season.
“We couldn’t be more proud of our cheer competition teams,” Bailey said. “These girls and their coaches put in more than 1,000 hours practicing for their competitions this year, and their hard work paid off, as they won every local competition.”
Cheer season is year-round, with tryouts being held March 7-11.
“We look at tumbling and the skills they can already do — splits, back hamstrings, back tucks, round-offs, jumps, kicks — as well as their citizenship and require they keep a 3.0 grade-point average or higher,” Lunt said. “These girls have a lot of talent and are hard-workers. They already come in at a high level so we start with building upon those skills, rather than starting with basics.”
Practices are usually three hours, three days per week, and in the summer, all morning. As fall rolls around, the 33-member cheer squad practices before school and in their first-period class as well as in the evenings and cheering at games.
In between practices, the team volunteers and does service projects, such as this past summer, hosting a junior cheer camp which had 130 participants. They then performed with the junior cheerleaders in the Draper Days parade. Last year, they got the community involved when they donated more than 9,000 pairs of jeans for Teens for Jeans.
Competition season began Nov. 21, 2015, when they were named overall grand champions at Jamz at South Towne Expo, and the 12-member varsity team received first for best choreography.
On Dec. 5 at Cottonwood High, the team competed at the USA regional contest and both varsity and JV took first. In addition, their four-member stunt team’s one-minute routine took first.
The next week on Dec. 12 at the Salt Lake City Regionals, both teams qualified to compete at nationals as well as took first place. They followed this with a Jan. 9 USA regional win for both teams at Roy High School.
The last competition they had before state was Jan. 23, the Northern Region Qualifier, which Corner Canyon hosted. JV won and varsity tied for first. In addition, varsity members sophomore Ryleigh Bloechel and senior Brianna Warburton were named regional champs.
“Cheer is a little different than other sports where each competition has its own score sheet and looks for different things, so we have to tweak each routine depending on the competition. Still, our goal is to hit everything perfectly,” Lunt said.
The team finished the season at the National High School Cheerleading Championship Feb. 6-7 at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Orlando, Florida. The junior varsity team placed in the top 12 in their division.
“(The varsity) were in the toughest division of the competition. They had 52 teams in their division,” she said, adding that they didn’t place.
“It’s a good learning experience. Everyone who comes to compete in Florida is on a really good team. Utah isn’t a big cheer state. Next year, we will have most everyone returning as only three girls are seniors. We are only going up from here…I am very positive and excited about the future of Corner Canyon Cheer. I think we are going to do great things,” she said.