BY KAYLA GATES
After a late start, CCHS is finally kicking off its athletic season. Among those sports commencing is cheerleading. Faced with new obstacles due to coronavirus concerns, the team remains eager to spread school spirit during the given circumstances.
The coronavirus pandemic put a hold on many aspects of the CCHS athletic department. The inability to adhere to new health and safety guidelines put the future of school sports at risk, particularly those with a fall season, as the year began with much uncertainty.
However, as the school year commenced, the Broward County Athletic Association (BCAA) made the decision to resume athletic participation in phases. This meant that although delayed, select sports would have the opportunity to set a start date for their season.
While many sports made the decision to push their season back into the spring, cheerleading was not one of them. The program opted to start their season as soon as possible. However, they had to overcome various obstacles that cheerleading had never faced in the past.
With this, the CCHS cheerleading program set out to start their season. In order to spread the word, the team began to post information on their social media pages, including Instagram. Unable to meet in person, the coaches conducted player and parent interest meetings in late September.
After a month of preparation, the team was given permission by the BCAA to meet in person once again for the first time since the previous school year. Coaches Julie Fernandez and Jillian Shaffer held formal tryouts on October 15 on the CCHS campus.
“It was nice to see and meet all [the girls],” the coaches said. “We cannot wait to see what the future holds for our team.”
The tryouts offered an opportunity for both new and returning players to showcase their skills. However, the experience appeared very different from tryouts in previous years. Students were required to have their temperature taken and perform their individual routines in small groups.
While the tryouts are only a preview of the season to come, the same concerns have been shared among student-athletes. Many are worried if health guidelines will impact performances, as athletes will be required to remain at least six feet apart when cheering.
“Now we have to be extra careful with how we approach the games and practices,” sophomore Mia Przelomsky said. “Everything will be very social-distanced and we can no longer do any activities that require us to be within a close distance, like stunting.”
Despite the concerns, the CCHS cheerleading squad is on track for a relatively normal season. The team will begin weekly practices this month by utilizing the newly opened school campus. They will be conditioning alongside the CCHS football team, whose season is also set.
With home games already being scheduled, cheerleaders are preparing to perform in front of limited capacity audiences. Regardless of the changes being implemented to ensure the safety of players and coaches, the team’s goal to promote school spirit remains strong.
“I think COVID has made an impact on this cheer season because we now have less games we can attend and overall spirits are down about attending sports functions,” junior Breckyn Mayer said. “It is disappointing that we will have less events this year, but I think we will all make the most of it and still have a great season.”
Photo by The Lariat Photography