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  • Megann Horstead

Troy cheerleaders aim for success at Joliet West Competition

It was a tale of 13 Trojans coming together as one.

The Troy Middle School cheerleading squad recently competed in the Joliet West Competition at Joliet West High School.

The event drew in representation from more than 80 schools from communities across the area, including Minooka, Yorkville and Joliet.

Troy Middle School varsity cheerleading coach Erin Locke said leading the squad to the Joliet West Competition is an essential part of the program.

“Part of our philosophy for the program is to prepare each athlete for the expectations and demands of the sport itself and prepare them for the next stages of their cheerleading career,” she said. “With that being said, almost all of these girls will continue cheering in high school and the two main feeder schools, Joliet West and Minooka, both have strong competitive programs. We have practiced long and hard, perfecting our skills, and we are ready to show everyone what we have been working on.”

Locke is currently in her first year of coaching at Troy Middle School. She previously coached at Downers Grove South High School, Yorkville High School and Joliet West High School.

“Our girls have improved their individual skills all throughout the season, and they continue to do so,” Locke said. “Placing high at a competition would be good for the girls to realize all of their hard work paid off.

Locke said she knows her students are ready to compete at Joliet West, in part, because of observations made during practices.

“We started preparing in September, when we started practicing,” she said. “Many of the skills we have been practicing we have incorporated into our routine.”

With a total of 14 students representing the Troy Middle School cheerleading squad this year, 13 of them competed at Joliet West.

Eighth-grade student Cheyenne Eads said it felt good being able to perform at the competition.

“Last year we didn’t so as best that we could, but I think this year we killed it,” she said. “It was pretty great cheering with my team.”

Eads has been cheerleading since fifth grade. Prior to that, she did ice skating and gymnastics. Eads said the skills she learned in other arenas helped her in competing at Joliet West.

“The form from … being on beam and everything probably helped me with my height and made my calf muscles stronger to start pushing off my toes,” she said.

Eads said she hopes the competition brings she and the rest of the squad closer together.

“However best we do, it doesn’t matter what place we get, I just wanted them to know that I love all of them and I knew we were going to do our best,” she said.

Eighth-grade student Alyssa Anderson mirrored that sentiment.

“I really hope to come home with a win so that we come with more confidence in our routine,” she said.

Anderson said it’s wonderful knowing she was able to execute every part of the routine, including the tumbling pass.

Anderson has been a cheerleader since third grade. She said it was exciting to capture the crowd’s attention at Joliet West.

“It was really good because there’s so many people watching us,” Anderson said.

Locke said win or lose, the squad is bound to accomplish many feats this year.

“We are hoping to perform the best we can, Joliet West and our other competition at Plainfield South (High School) on January 15th,” she said. “Our ultimate goal is to place high at the (Illinois Elementary School Association) state competition in Peoria on January 21st.”


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