The group in charge of getting Eagle athletes going, the cheerleading squad, will be on the receiving end of the rooting this week while they are honored as CJ’s Feature Team.
The CJ community is sounding off in support of the nine girls who make up the varsity cheerleading team for the football season during perhaps the most important and spirituous week of the fall, Homecoming.
CJ takes on the league rival Carroll Patriots at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Northmont High School. Following the game, there will be an Alumni Reception in the new Student Conditioning Center from 9 p.m. to midnight. The Homecoming Dance for CJ sophomores, juniors, and seniors is Saturday night in the gym.
The 2010 varsity cheerleading team consists entirely of juniors and seniors, and is coached by CJ parent Michelle McGill. Senior co-captains Geralynn Byrd and Jasmine Williams will lead the team during the fall and winter as each cheers for the Eagles football and basketball teams.
“I think being the feature team is great because a lot of people don’t consider cheerleading a sport,” said Williams, who also runs track in the spring. “Just to be appreciated for a week is nice because sometimes we get overlooked.”
Spirit Committee will be passing out candy and hanging locker signs to celebrate the cheerleaders while the girls decorate lockers themselves in support of the football players. The team will be able to wear CJ spirit shirts at school Friday before the game.
Girls can decide to cheer for either the football team or the basketball team, but most choose to participate in both. During the season, the cheerleading squad practices Wednesday and Thursday for two hours after school. Preparation begins in the summer months when the team hosts a clinic, tryouts, and conditioning sessions in order to get physically fit to prevent injuries.
“We do a lot of work over the summer and we also attend camps. This summer we went to Ohio State University for the Cheerleaders of America (COA) camp and that was really fun,” Williams said. The team spent four days at the overnight camp in Columbus, cheering alongside other schools and learning new material. Williams added that attending camp strengthened their team’s bond.
“We don’t just yell and scream,” Williams joked. “It is a lot more work than people would think.”