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Now You Can Cheer on the Cheerleaders

Walter Ringfield

Mara Friedman cheers at the fall pep rally.


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The cheerleading squad won first place in their second competition of the year on Sun. Feb. 17 at Ashland.

The week leading up to the competition was intense.

“We practice every day but Wednesdays, though we’ve been practicing some Wednesdays lately. We also practice before games and on Saturdays,” said coach Colleen Schachtel. “[The cheerleaders] have been training since September … They learn both physical and mental discipline. They got more stamina. They run and stretch every day. They can go through a whole routine without running out of breath. They do a lot of ab and cardio exercises.”

Schachtel explained that the program has completely changed from previous years.

The girls have only 2 minutes and 30 seconds to perform.

“They whipped this cheer out in one or two weeks and pretty much perfected it,” said Schachtel.

This is the first year that Beachwood’s cheerleaders have ever performed in a competition. They participate in the non-tumble competitions. They won third place at the first meet, held at Eastlake North.

“During the competition we start with a chant. Then we transition into a cheer, then we dance. The dance is only a minute long,” said senior captain Amira Hardy

“Keep smiling!” Hardy reminded the team as they practiced.

One thing judges evaluate is facial expressions. Cheerleaders have to smile through the entire performance.

“They got a 10/10 on jumps,” said junior varsity coach Kayla Beavis. “[Cheers are judged] based on skilled choreographing, transitions, form, motions, facial expressions, how they’re dressed, appearance, sportsmanship, spirit — everything really.”

Once they perform, the judges critique them. They work to fix the small errors in their performance.

“We’re not going to change the cheer for the [next] competition because when they compete, they get critiqued. They work on what they did wrong and get better for next time,” said Schachtel.

“I think we did pretty good for our first competition,” Cheerleader Ashley Small said after the first competition. “Hopefully, we’ll get 1st place next time, because now we have experience and we know how to critique ourselves.”

As a senior, this is Ashley’s first and only year to compete. While she was happy to compete this year, she admitted that “I would do it again next year if I could.”

Next year, things will be a bit different. Towards the end of July, the team will be going to a cheer camp for four days. They will learn tumbling and stunts from certified coaches.

“For the next few years, our expectations will go up,” said Beavis.

“Next year they’ll do a new routine with tumbling and stunts,” said Schachtel.

Like this year, next year’s tryouts will be open to anyone. This year they managed to get a basketball player, two girls from the drill team and one girl from indoor track. They hope for next year to get even more.

“The more the better,” said Schachtel.

Schachtel explained that they are also hoping for guys to join the team.

“The guys don’t really understand, they don’t have to do girly moves — just lifting girls up. During the parade this year, the football players lifted some of the girls. That’s all they’ll be doing here.”

The girls who play sports are only allowed to cheer in competition–not for the sports that play during their seasons. The exception to this is indoor track, because it is only considered a club. The girls who aren’t participating in another sport are still cheering for the basketball players.

“ We still cheer for the basketball players,” said Hardy “We’ll be going with them to playoffs. We still care and support them.”

The final competition will be Feb. 24 at Chardon High School. Beachwood’s basketball team will be watching and fans are also encouraged to come and cheer them on.

“Yes, people can come and cheer for us,” said Hardy. “We are cheerleaders, but we have people cheering us on.”

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Now You Can Cheer on the Cheerleaders