Leila Dycus Staff Writer

Just like a puzzle being put together the Morgan County Middle School (MCMS) cheerleading squads began piecing together their routines at last week’s camp. “If I had to sum it up, it’s a commitment by the coaches and a commitment by all team members because they have all been here,” said Coach Betty Webb. “Summer practice is not mandatory, but they’ve all be here every day.” Last week the MCMS cheerleaders began their week with conditioning before beginning their camp. On Wednesday, June 11, Terry Jones from a cheerleading competition gym, Force, came to MCMS to work with the Bulldogs team. Jones worked with the team from 8:30 am to 2:30 pm, Wednesday through Friday. “Basically what I want him to accomplish is to set a routine because all of our camp girls are here,” said Webb.

“The goal is to set a routine, a winning routine, and for these girls to be so comfortable with each other that they know when ones going to blink, just like they’re married to each other.” During the camp, Jones set the routine for the team. The routine he taught is the one the girls will compete with throughout their season. The idea is that the team will not change that routine unless absolutely necessary. After teaching the routine, Jones worked with the students on technique and pieces of the routine. The competition cheerleading team was not the only team at last week’s camp. The spirit team was also present. The cheerleaders tried out for the teams in the spring.

If a girl made competition team, she is automatically on the spirit team. However, a cheerleader can choose to just be on the spirit team. Spirit team members cheer at football and basketball games. Cheerleaders also participate in pep rallies. Competition team members travel to events around the state. The goal of competition cheerleading is to bring home a trophy. The MCMS team competes at the same meets as the high school team.

“I think the cohesion between the coaches and the girls is different this year,” said Webb. “They understand what the expectations are from us and they understand the expectations from themselves and their team members.” This year’s team is lead by Morgan County Elementary School teacher Betty Webb and Lise Bowles. Webb is the administrative coach and Bowles is the technical coach who has cheerleading experience. As the two teachers lead the girls, the goal of the competition team is to bring home a trophy.

“That’s what they’re working towards and they’re doing it themselves and we’re just guiding them- giving them some of the tools, that they need but they know their goal is to bring home a trophy and that’s evident in the way that they’re doing things,” said Webb. This year’s spirit team has 12 members and the competition team has 13 members. The students range from grades sixth to eighth. Coach Webb said that the eighth graders are helping the seventh graders and the seventh graders are helping the sixth graders become accustomed to school cheerleading. After last week’s camp, the MCMS cheerleaders will take two weeks off before coming back together at the beginning of July. In July, the girls will spend four days at the Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA ) camp. The team has come along way since beginning practice two weeks ago. “We’ll be practicing, taking what we learned at this camp and perfecting it, taking what we learn at FCA camp for teamwork and spirit and making sure it comes on the mat with the girls,” said Webb.