Cheer stunts on competition at UIL event


Natalie Cullen

SMILES FOR MILES: Bowie’s Varsity and JV Cheer team performing during the homecoming prep rally. During the UIL competition the team placed 23rd out of 80 teams competing overall.

Sophia Sanchez, Staff Writer

Shaking her poms, sophomore Tatum Wilson performs the school fight song at the UIL State Spirit Championships alongside her team.

On January 15 the Bowie cheer team alongside other squads from Texas competed in the UIL State Game day Championships.

“So [the competition] is a whole bunch of schools competing, all over the state,” Wilson said. “You have a routine that you compete in; that’s like sideline cheers and tumbling and jumps. There are also different divisions of teams competing, so you can compete against other teams. Then you qualify, and if you qualify in the top-20 then you get to compete a second time.” The team had countless practices throughout the months of the school year, receiving their choreography in the fall.

“To prepare we had a lot of practice in and out of school,” senior Ava Webber said. “We also had to learn to be really flexible during these practices because we had a few girls out with COVID and had to put alternates in their place, who were so awesome. As a whole we really just wanted to focus on having fun and doing our best, especially considering the circumstances.”

After arriving at the hotel, the team continued to practice together outside on the roof. Freshman Bailey Stehling conveyed that these moments brought the team closer together.

“We warmed up and we had a few pep talks,” Stehling said. “We said a prayer as a team and some motivational speeches.”

About 80 teams competed in their division at the competition, not to mention the other divisions, making for a bustling environment inside the building.

“Walking into the building it was very chaotic at first,” senior Aine Flaherty said. “There were a bunch of cheerleaders getting ready to warm up and people constantly giving us directions on where to go. Shortly after, we entered the warm-up area and it was so fast paced I didn’t really have time to process it. However, once we got backstage and were next to hit the mat, the nerves kicked in. The second they introduced us the nerves went away and the adrenaline took over and I was able to use muscle memory to do the routine.”

Cheer has allowed me to learn how to lead by example and just to always stay motivated. With the team I’m able to be myself and have fun.

— Celeste Dauterive, Cheer Captain

Finally, after months of practice, it was the team’s turn to perform their routine on the neon green mat made to imitate a football field.

“I love competing so I always have a good time while performing,” Webber said. “There were a few moments of worry on the mat though. Specifically, we had our band dance music turn off mid-performance and had to keep going through it and count it out.”

The music malfunction barely affected the team, they continued to perform despite the music setback.

“During the performance I had a lot of adrenaline,” Flaherty said. “A few seconds after our music started, the music stopped and I was shocked because the whole team was able to go on without missing a beat. It was more exciting competing without the music because we came together as a team. We were all so proud of the energy we put into the competition and how we went on without having music.”

According to Webber, the team performance to marching band music ended up placing high in the band dances category. They also performed to the school’s fight song, as well as doing their own cheers.

“[After the routine] I felt good,” Wilson said. “Our coaches were really proud of us and our teammates too. Everyone felt like we did really good. We made the first qualification but not the second one. I was still really proud of ourselves because it was really hard to make the second qualification and I think we did the best we could.”

As the competition ended, the cheer team reflected on ways to improve for next years performance despite the setbacks they experienced during the competition.

“From this experience, I think it showed the team as a whole how we can all collectively work together and get through setbacks in a short period of time,” Flaherty said. “It showed us that no matter how behind we seem, through determination and everyone putting all their effort in we can accomplish what we put our minds to.”