Cheer and dance soar to new heights in first competition

By: Alexis Stallard, Editor-In-Chief

Newman’s Cheer and Dance teams competed in their first-ever MIAA event last month, and they came home with two trophies.

The team returned from the Fort Hays Tiger Invitational on March 26 having finished first in dance and third in cheer.

The other colleges competing were Fort Hays State University and Southeastern Oklahoma State University.

Head coach Brandy Muncy said that she’d made plans for the teams to start competing several years ago, but COVID-19 got in the way. She said that this year felt like a good year to try again. Muncy found out about the invitational in February and immediately began preparing the teams for competition.

“I think they weren’t quite ready for it, but once it came and they knew what to do, they worked really hard,” Muncy said.

Muncy said it was a learning experience for most of the team since none of the members had competed at the collegiate level, and only a handful out of the 37 team members had competed while in high school.

“I’m super proud of them,” Muncy said. “They did such a good job, and it was a fun experience for the team.”

Junior Mackenzie Ternes said that once the teams were told they’d be competing, it was hard to adjust. The teams usually have only a few more practices after they return from Christmas break, but Ternes said that this year they were practicing harder than ever.

“We always practice hard so we look good at games, but competition routines require much more endurance and precision as well as the performance aspect of drawing in the judges with facial expressions and energy,” Ternes said. “Overall, we were definitely held to higher standards than we are used to and pushed ourselves to new levels.”

Ternes said that traveling as a team was a whole new experience, too, and nerves started to rise after the members watched the two other teams enter the gym knowing they both had more experience competing. She said the team members reminded themselves that they had worked hard, and they focused on hitting a clean routine.

“I was so proud of my teammates for dedicating so much time to this and making it work,” Ternes said. “From here, we can only improve, and I have no doubts we'll bring something even better to the mat.”

PHOTO: Courtesy photo, Newman Athletics