Cheer preview: New head coach buoys team’s hopes

September 23, 2023 — by Derek Liang
Photo by Anika Kapasi
The team hypes up the student section in the stands during the football game against Prospect on Aug. 25.

After a tough season last year, an ongoing restructuring of the team allows for a competitive season in the 2023-2024 season.

After ending last year’s challenging season, which included numerous girls quitting for personal reasons and inconsistent coaching, the cheer team has welcomed a new head coach as well as seven new members, bringing their current team size up to 15 members. 

Brandy Fisher, the team’s head coach for this season, was a cheer captain at Overfelt High and an Allstar cheerleader at Rogue in her freshman year of college. Fisher recently retired from cheering with NorCal Elite Allstars – Cleopatra in May, and has ample experience coaching.

“I felt like I wanted to continue being around cheer but not as an athlete myself, when I saw this head coach position open up I signed up instantly and got the job,” Fisher said.

Even during her own high school years, Fisher felt that she had the characteristics of a coach, being a source of leadership and guidance within her own team. Fisher has established a lot of new structure within the team and brought a greater love for cheer to the members with the aid of her competitive background and energetic personality. Her biggest goal for the year is to have the team competing in competitions again and having fun while doing it.

In preparation for football season, practices were held three times a week during July. The team also wrapped up summer training at the Universal Cheer Association (UCA) camp hosted from July 28-31 at Saint Mary’s College, where they worked on developing their stunt skills, pyramids, cheers and dances.

During the sideline season, captains senior base Kylee O’Brien and junior flyer Lucie Le Toquin, along with co-captains senior backspot Eva Semin and junior base Annalise Shab, have been selected to lead the team in their routines and at football games. Another round of captain selection will be hosted at the start of the competition season, which begins in late September.

A main goal for the cheer team, Le Toquin said, is to gain more exposure and respect for their sport. They hope to cheer for more games and diversify the sports they cheer for. 

After last year’s disorganization due to miscommunications between coaches and members, Le Toquin is excited to take the program to a higher level with the help of Fisher.

“Our coach this year is very experienced and productive — she’s on top of things in terms of the team and is overall really supportive of all of the members,” Le Toquin said. 

Although the team has been enjoying cheering during football games, many members of the team are especially looking forward to qualifying for UCA nationals in Orlando, Florida in February and local competitions later in the school year.

“Sideline and halftime routines can get really repetitive but competitions have different aspects that help us improve and get more creative,” junior base Sydney Li said. “[Competition season] also feels a lot more rewarding.”

Tags: cheer, preview
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