By Talbert Toole
The Oxford High School spirit rang true for the cheerleading squad last Saturday at the Jackson Coliseum as the squad nabbed the MHSAA state championship for their “game-day routine.”
The squad, which is comprised of 23 girls, began practicing for this victory in April after tryouts, according to first-season coach Mylene Cromwell. Although the squad clinched the national title for “game-day” in 2017, Cromwell said there was still plenty of pressure and expectations for the squad to succeed at the state level this year.
This was the first year Mississippi offered this specific category at the MHSAA competition. Cromwell said this year’s squad felt like a “game-day” squad and the category felt right where the girls could showcase what cheerleading is all about.
A traditional competition comprises a routine of stunts, tumbling, a cheer and a dance portion within a set amount of time. “Game-day” competitions allow cheerleading squads the opportunity to present the actual experience of being on a sideline during football games. Consisting of the school’s fight song, band chant, situational sideline—either a defense or offense cheer which is presented spontaneously to the squad during the competition—and a full out cheer, the squad managed to execute each with expertise.
“Another goal we had this year was to create more school spirit,” Cromwell said. “I think game-day lends itself to that.”
Winning this year’s state title didn’t come without some uphill battles. Cromwell said the squad had suffered from cheerleaders being sick from day one, including injuries such as sprained ankles, which put one cheerleader out of practice for nearly two weeks.
However, as the team gathered for the announcing of awards, the nerves and anxiety fell from their shoulders as the MC announced second place. Cromwell said at that moment the squad knew in their hearts that they had to have won first place, and they did.
Although the team is excited to have the state title added to their banner in the gymnasium, Cromwell said the cheerleaders are always scholars first. With many of the girls participating in extracurricular activities, they still make an additional effort to put their best effort and time into cheerleading.
In addition to the OHS cheerleaders winning their state title, the Chargerettes dance team managed to clinch a fourth-place title at the dance competition as well.
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