Cheer preps for nationals in state competition


Photo courtesy of Samantha Jordan

CHEERING LOUD: The cheer team competes in the UIL State competition. Narrowly missing out on a spot in the finals, the team used their state performance to prepare for nationals in Orlando, Florida.

Michael Vienneau, Dispatch Reporter

Consisting of over 25 members, the cheer team competed in the UIL state convention competition on January 14 in Fort Worth, Texas. The team secured a 21st finish in a field of over 100 teams.

For junior Samantha Jordan, even though the team didn’t make the final performance, the team did great. This was Jordan’s second time participating in the UIL state competition.

“The whole environment was great,” Jordan said. “Our team really brought out all the energy on the mat and I am proud of our performance.” 

Jordan believes that the team can reflect on this year’s competition and improve upon their mistakes. Fixing these mistakes will help the team place higher in next year’s competition.

“I think we can improve on this year’s performance,” Jordan said. “If we all work towards the same goal and give it 100 percent, I don’t see why we don’t improve.”

Wrapping up her three year cheer career at Bowie, senior Zoe Kanz competed in her final state UIL competition. Kanz looks back on her time on her the cheer squad and the cheer program as a whole. 

“I began cheer as an 8th grader at Gorzycki Middle School with all my friends, after not competing in cheer as a freshman, I decided to try out as a sophomore and made varsity,” Kanz said. “The experience has been so good and we have such amazing coaches and girls here.”

Having been a sophomore during the COVID pandemic, Kanz reflects on her senior campaign and how much the team has changed since her sophomore year. In this, she mentions the comradery the team developed this year. 

“COVID hit during sophomore year and the whole experience came to a stop,” Kanz said.  “My junior year was a lot better as the team really started to build and improve, but this year has been my favorite so far and it’s not close. We all have such a good connection that helps us get better.”

In her second year as the cheer head coach Alyssa Alex traveled and led the team in her 2nd UIL state competition with the team. Coach Alex was pleased with the team’s progress over the course of the year that enabled them to challenge for a top-20 spot in the state.

“We were so excited to go to the State Championships and represent Bowie,” Alex said. “We performed well and it was exciting to know that we were only a point away from making finals. The huge improvement from last year is something that I am super encouraged about.” 

The huge jump in placement from last year to this year is a point that Alex refers to a lot. According to her, The change in team culture, leadership, and teamwork helped the ‘Dawgs thrive.

“Our seniors on the team really set the tone this year of wanting to go and show the state what Bowie Cheer was capable of,” Alex said. “They really set the tone at the beginning of the season by making sure that they were giving 110% to what we were doing and that they expected the other classes to follow suit and really give it their all this season. The seniors in any program establish the standards and overall feel of what the team will [do]. This year my seniors have been an incredible example and great leaders of the team.”

Despite not qualifying for finals, the cheer team’s season is far from being over. Traveling to Disney World, the cheer team has the opportunity to compete for the National Championship as a result of their hard work.

“[The team is] leaving to head to the National High School Cheerleading Championships in Orlando Florida,” Alex said. “We had to compete at regional competitions and get a bid to compete at the National Championships.”

Leaving February 9, Coach Alex describes the level of effort and dedication the team has spent in preparation to become potential National Champions. Coach Alex also refers to the mixed emotions that characterize season’s end. 

“There are teams from all over the country,” Alex said. “We will get to see some really cool routines and represent Bowie at the National level. The ending will be bittersweet for many. The seniors leaving is going to be hard, but the competition brings out excitement for the whole team and we are ready to compete.”