Carlmont’s Lady Scots take on Nationals

The Lady Scots pose in front of the Anaheim Convention Center after taking home second place at USA Spirit Nationals. I was so excited when I was smiling for this. I felt so accomplished and proud, said Sophia Smith, a junior.

Lady Scots Team Parent

The Lady Scots pose in front of the Anaheim Convention Center after taking home second place at USA Spirit Nationals. “I was so excited when I was smiling for this. I felt so accomplished and proud,” said Sophia Smith, a junior.

There is often a misconception that cheerleading is more of a fun hobby than a true athletic endeavor. But Carlmont’s competitive cheer team, the Lady Scots, proved these perceptions wrong after training intensely and taking second place at the USA Spirit Nationals

For most sports teams, the athletic season is done in a matter of months. However, for Carlmont’s cheer team, the girls train year-round to perfect numerous dances and stunts that they perform during basketball and football games. In addition to cheering at school sporting events, the Lady Scots also must work on their routines for the competition season and nationals. 

“We do our regular cheerleading for the school but throughout the season we are preparing for the national competition. We put in months of practice, and it’s a lot of hard work, but in the end, it pays off,” said Katelyn Nightingale, a senior and captain of the cheer team. 

Leading up to the flight down to the competition, which takes place at the Anaheim Convention Center, months of preparation goes into perfecting their routine to “hit zero,” or a complete routine with no mistakes. The Lady Scots practice multiple times a week after school and set up everything to perfection to minimize injury and improve performance. This entails setting up the music, taking out the mats and tape, and putting the floor together for their dead mat

“We usually practice three to four times a week, but along with that, we also go to all of the school games, so we get to practice and rep then as well,” said Anna Passos, a junior.

Preparation for Nationals starts immediately after tryouts for the competition team ends. This entails hiring a choreographer, finding who’s right for each role, and finally, putting the routine together.

“After tryouts, we get our team together and immediately get our choreographer to work on our stunts and our dance along with the other technicalities of the routine,” Nightingale said. 

This year, the USA Spirit Nationals competition was held from Feb. 25-27. Numerous teams compete in the competition in different divisions. 

The competition was recorded on Varsity TV, a multimillion-dollar company dedicated to broadcasting cheerleading around the world. Despite the minimal in-person audience due to COVID-19 restrictions, thousands around the country could tune in to watch the Lady Scots perform. This added another mental aspect for some cheerleaders, who felt nervous from the potentially high viewership. 

 “It’s really nerve-wracking because while we were getting ready for our performance, we were watching other teams perform. So even though there weren’t an insane amount of people watching in person, we still knew that people could see us,” Nightingale said.

Despite the nerves, the Lady Scots put on an exceptional performance, taking home second place in the Small Varsity Show Cheer Novice division competition. Their success was celebrated at Carlmont as they took center stage and proved to the school community that they are far more than just dancers on a sideline.

“I never knew that they practiced so much and they went to competitions at all. I was under the impression that they just cheered at the sidelines. I’ve always considered cheering a sport, and I have great respect for them,” said Mia Lim, a sophomore.