Niceville Cheerleaders Prepare for State and National Competitions
Although football season has ended, the Niceville High School cheerleaders are far from finished for the year.
Their season has only just begun – and debuted with a showcase for fans, friends and family to celebrate.
Since learning their competition routines in October, the cheerleaders have been working tirelessly, racking up about 15 to 20 hours worth of practice per week.
In preparation for their upcoming state and national competitions, the Niceville cheerleading team hosted a public showcase last night in the Niceville High School gymnasium.
The showcase event featured high-energy competition routines from Niceville High School’s Varsity and JV cheerleading teams, the Eaglettes, the Ruckel Middle School cheerleading team, and the Ruckel Rockettes.
The Niceville Varsity cheer team competes in four to five competitions each season, including the FHSAA Cheerleading State Championship and the UCA National High School Cheerleading Championship. In years past, the Eagles have excelled at state and national competitions, placing first in the state for the past four years and earning 5th place for their traditional routine and 2nd place for the game day routine at nationals in 2023.
The cheerleading team learns, perfects, and competes in two different routines- one in the traditional category and the other in the gameday category.
Traditional is a technically difficult and fast-paced routine packed with elite stunts, tumbling, and a short cheer often involving signs. According to senior cheerleader Haley Sage Stillings, the most difficult elements of this year’s traditional routine are “the running fulls and the hand-to-hand pop through to lib.”
Conversely, the game day style routine is meant to replicate a football game performance, emphasizing the execution of motions. It includes a dance choreographed to band music and cheer completed with signs, flags, and megaphones.
Although both competition categories are equally as difficult to win, Niceville has a knack for executing a captivating and high-energy game day routine, enabling them to bring home 1st place at various
competitions multiple times throughout the last decade.
As with years past, this season’s team is extremely talented and strongly bonded- Stillings notes, “We have to be extremely bonded and trust one another so that we can perform well.” This demonstrates the importance of creating a solid team bond in competitive cheerleading.
On February 3rd, the team will venture to Lakeland, Florida to compete in the FHSAA State Championship in pursuit of defending their four-year reign as state champions. Soon after the state competition, the team will travel to Orlando, Florida to compete for a national title at the UCA National High School Cheerleading Championship.