With a new football season slated to unfold Aug. 22 and competition to begin in October, the Clover High School cheerleaders are reaching a state of Friday night readiness.
Hannah Goolsby, Clover’s second-year head cheer coach, who worked as an assistant coach for two years, said there are 22 varsity cheerleaders this year and 11 JV squad members ready for competition.
A competition showcase will be Sept. 27 in the CHS gym, allowing team members to show the precision that must be mastered.
Goolsby said the competition season extends from October to the middle of November, with weekly competition on Saturdays.
She said team members had a rigorous off season, honing their skills.
“Our cheerleaders had an active summer, lifting weights three days a week,” said Goolsby. “They also attended cheerleader camp at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill.”
Senior cheerleader captains Haleigh O’Donegan and Kelly Fernandes view the coming football and competition seasons with anticipation.
“We’re excited about a new season for the cheerleaders and the football team,” said O’Donegan.
Fernandes said the team’s priorities are in order. “We’re here for the football team and our school first and competition second,” she said.
Both cheerleader captains said CHS football has been more upbeat since the arrival of head coach Chad Smith before the 2013 season.
“The Blue Eagles are playing with more confidence and will win more games this season,” Fernandes said.
O’Donegan, who has cheered since the sixth grade, agreed.
“Coach Smith and his staff have brought excitement to Clover football,” she said. “Even when the Blue Eagles were losing last year, they played with more energy.
“Clover is building a strong football program,” she said.
O’Donegan and Fernandes said their final year of cheerleading at CHS will be bittersweet.
“We know it’s the final year for everything we do as cheerleaders,” Fernandes said.
Both senior captains said they can make a difference their final year with the cheerleading team.
“We want to set an example for others to take pride in what they do and to support their team and school,” said O’Donegan.
Added Fernandes: “Although it’s our final year, we look for a great season and what it all means.”
The Blue Eagle cheerleaders got their feet wet, literally, the night of the Clover football team’s annual Midnight Madness extravaganza. The event kicked off at 12:01 a.m. Aug. 1 during a steady rainfall for nearly two hours.
But the cheer captains said they rain did not hold them back.
“This is what it’s all about,” said Fernandes among rain-soaked cheerleaders and students.
Goolsby lauded members of the cheerleading team for their commitment.
“We have a great group of kids who want to do their best for the whole cheerleader team, not just as individuals,” said Goolsby.
“We want to promote school spirit for the football team and for the entire school, from the students to the administration,” she said.