Warriors finish on top at State Cheerleading

Bailey Freestone-Sports
The Waukee cheerleading team celebrates after hearing they won the State title. PHOTO SUBMITTED TO DCN

The Waukee Warrior cheerleading team competed at the State Cheerleading Competition on Saturday, Nov. 4. The Warriors competition team brought home a Class 4A state title for the third year in a row in the cheer and dance division.

The Warriors competed in the all-girl division this year, while the last two years were in the coed division.

The Warriors’ competition coach Ashley Jackson spoke about her experience at the State Competition.

“Bringing home another title was pretty special to me and the girls this year,” Jackson said. “The 4A division, in my opinion, is the most difficult division to compete in. There were 15 teams in the 4A division and they were all so talented. We knew going into this that the girls would really have to perform a solid routine in order to win. Nerves were high for us as coaches that day but the girls had nothing but confidence which showed when they performed. Winning against all of those talented teams was a humbling experience for us all.”

The Warriors also brought two five-person stunt groups. One group tied for first with an Iowa City West team and Davenport. After the judges used the execution score to break the tie, the Warriors placed third. The second stunt group placed seventh out of the 15 teams.

The Warriors begin practice earlier than most (beginning of May) and practiced two to three times a week. At the very beginning of the season, the team sets out goals for themselves.

“I always have the girls set their own goals at the beginning of the season as well as team goals,” Jackson said. “Some of our main goals (this season), however were to work on the performance aspect of the routine and not just hitting the skills but performing them to the best of their ability. We really pushed timing and cohesiveness throughout the routine and tried to make every little detail perfect.”

The State Competition was not the only competition the Warriors competed in this year, and will not be the last.

On Sunday, Oct. 29, the Warriors traveled to Fort Dodge for the Triton Challenge, which is a yearly competition held by Iowa Central Community College.

“This was the first year we have ever taken a team to the Triton Challenge and it was an awesome competition for us,” Jackson said. “We have two teams this year, an advanced team and an intermediate team that will both be competing at nationals in January. Our advanced team (white) competed at state while our intermediate team (purple) competed at Triton. Purple is an incredible team composed mainly of freshman, with a few sophomores and juniors mixed in.”

According to Jackson, many of the girls on the purple team hadn’t compete before the Triton Challenge and they ended up placing seventh overall.

Both the white and purple teams will be competing at the NCA Nationals in Dallas at the end of January. The teams will be in the intermediate JV division and the advanced varsity division.

This isn’t the first time the Warriors have competed at Nationals, last year their coed team finished as runners-up and were recognized for best use of tumbling in their routine.