Carlmont cheerleaders maintain spirit after football season ends

JV+cheerleaders+Sarah+Shalita+%28left%29+and+Daniela+Colaizzi+%28right%29+do+toe-touches+on+the+football+field+in+preparation+for+competitions.+

Olivia Long

JV cheerleaders Sarah Shalita (left) and Daniela Colaizzi (right) do toe-touches on the football field in preparation for competitions.

Football games may have ended, but the Carlmont cheerleaders keep up their hard work year-round. The cheer team stays busy with practices, competitions, and upcoming routines for Carlmont varsity basketball games.

Carlmont varsity cheer captain Katelyn Nightengale has a practice routine for each week.

“Typically during football season, we’ll start off a practice week by doing warm-ups, then we start to map out what our plan for a routine is because normally we perform that Friday,” Nightengale said. “We have practice Tuesday and Thursday, so we only have those days to put together a routine, practice the routine, and put it all together. After they teach us the dance on Tuesday, everyone has to practice it at home and come back on Thursday having the dance ready.”

The Carlmont cheer team performs stunts during practice to prepare for a big game. (Olivia Long)

Many Carlmont students don’t know that the Carlmont cheer team continues to practice after football season ends. The group has a significant role in cheering for Carlmont’s basketball teams and attending competitions.

Nightengale contends that many people don’t realize how much work goes into cheerleading and that cheer is undervalued as a sport.

“I’d say one of the more difficult things about cheer is the way it’s perceived by other people,” Nightengale said. “Cheer is very much something that is athletic, and it’s very much something that I’ve put a lot of time into, so it can be really frustrating when I hear comments like, ‘Cheer isn’t a sport, you guys don’t do anything.'”

“Carlmont, pump it up” cheer by Olivia Long

Sarah Shalita, a JV cheerleader for Carlmont’s team, has similar thoughts to Nightengale.

“I feel like a lot of people underestimate the amount of work and countless hours that are put into cheer. It’s so much more than just shaking some pom-poms,” Shalita said.

Varsity cheer coach Kalina Wasman outlined the incredible amount of work the cheerleaders have coming up.

“Now that football season has concluded, our team of 42 athletes splits up. We have 18 as part of our competition team, and the remaining 24 athletes stay a part of sideline. Sideline performs at both the varsity girls and boys basketball games, and then our competition team competes with their two-and-a-half-minute routine,” Wasman said. “We travel around California, competing against other high schools in our division. We don’t actually take a break. That’s why we’re a year-round sport—because we just continuously flow. So right now is the start of our sideline and competition season. And that will continue through basically the end of February.”

Nightengale’s favorite cheer is the “Carlmont pump it up” cheer, one of about 25 cheers the cheerleaders are expected to memorize, not even including the routines they learn for halftime during games. The cheer team works hard, jumping from one routine to the next. Despite their busy schedule, cheer still leaves lots of room for team building and fostering a sense of community.

“My favorite thing about cheer is honestly the community. I love my team, and I feel so close and welcomed. I’ve always felt welcomed into the program in general, which has always made me proud to be a part of it,” said Nightengale.