Varsity cheerleading wins the state championship for the first time


Northwest’s cheer team poses for a photo at last year’s state competition. The team is hoping for a repeat win of the competition this year, which takes place Nov. 23.

With locked arms and clenched jaws, the cheerleaders wait for each winner to be called from last to first place. Tuscola High School is third, Enka High School is second and before the final announcement, the girls can barely contain themselves. Northwest Guilford High School is called for first place, and the team jumps up to claim the Carolina Cup for the first time in school history.

At the Raleigh Convention center on Dec. 1, the girls got their opportunity to walk on stage and show their well rehearsed routine. Out of 129 schools, they reigned supreme in the Large Varsity Non-Tumble Division One.

“When you first walk out on the stage and everybody’s freaking out and banging the stage,” senior cheer captain Jalisa Williams said.

Although Enka was favored to win like the previous year, Northwest stepped up to the competition with the routine used at the homecoming pep rally. Focal points of the routine were senior Cassidy Davis as a flyer, the dance and the baskets.

“We felt confident in our positions,” Williams said.

Senior Kaitlyn Crews also had an important spot; she did a one man, where she held held Davis and pressed her above her head.  The routine was flawless with zero deductions and an 85 overall score.

The team was under a lot of pressure during the final days and hours before the show.

“We ended up changing part of the routine probably an hour and a half before we had to get to warm ups,” Crews said “we had to practice it in a hotel lobby.”

Northwest’s head cheerleading coaches Autumn Pennington (basketball) and Jennifer Loveday-Donovan (football and competition) assured the girls that they would be successful because of their hard work and dedication. Williams chimed in by boosting team confidence.

“My job was to keep everybody settled and to reassure them in their spots because we practiced a lot,” Williams said.

Crews knows that team chemistry is key to a big win and Williams sees the team as a big family.

“We got to experience it with 33 of our best friends and we also got along with our coaches,” Crew said.

Finally getting to hold the Carolina Cup at the 16th annual NCHSAA invitational showed the girls how good they really are. The cheer team has not been a big image of Northwest in past years compared to other Varsity sports.

“It was a really big moment for the team in general, we really tried this year and the state championship was like the cherry on top,” Williams said.

Now, with a trophy and rings, the team can celebrate a successful season before twelve seniors depart.

“We went in confident and kicked butt,” Crews said.

All picture were contributed from the NWGHS Twitter page.