Give me a W-I-N!
Juneau’s unified football cheerleaders had a busy weekend.
On Friday, the squad was on the sidelines supporting the football team in the Division I championship game at Service High School in Anchorage.
On Saturday, they took home a slew of awards at the “Rally in the Valley” cheer competition hosted by Colony High School in Palmer.
The Huskies earned the highest score across all teams and were crowned “Grand Master Champs” in the competition, which was open to all cheer teams across Alaska.
In addition, the team came in first place for its halftime and game day routines.
Individual team members also brought home honors, with team member Ben Ione placing sixth in the individual category and Saelyer Hunt placing seventh.
The accolades belie that the team of mostly new cheerleaders could only host one full-team practice this season due to COVID-19 concerns.
“Only three kids had prior high school football cheer experience,” said Carlene Nore, head coach for the cheer team, in an email to the Empire.
“We really started at the bottom on learning skills and game scenarios. This team worked hard to come together as one as they learned and mastered lots of material,” she said.
Nore said that 16 of the 21 athletes on the team traveled to the competition along with one manager.
She said that the season presented challenges for the team as COVID-19 concerns persisted and team members adapted to the return of full-time school and sports after a pandemic-induced pause on in-person learning and a canceled 2020 football season.
“Cheer is a sport where you’re supporting another team, but you also have your own skills and goals to accomplish. This season we were able to do this,” Nore said. “Big thanks to the Huskies parent group and coaches, the Juneau Youth Football League, the athletic directors at both high schools and the community of Juneau.”
• Contact reporter Dana Zigmund at firstname.lastname@example.org or 907-308-4891.