Jaguar cheer holds its annual mini-cheer nightNov 03, 2022 08:11PM ● By Greg James
By Greg James | [email protected]
Cheerleading is a sanctioned sport in the state of Utah. West Jordan has a competitive and sideline team that will compete at the state finals in late January. This time of year they are working on those competitive pieces, but also support their classmates and the community.
“The kids have a class period to prepare. We also meet at 6:30 and go to 8:30 about three times a week,” Jaguars cheer coach Kerrie Lutes said. “They also have games they support, including volleyball, football, JV and varsity.”
The community expects the cheerleaders to bolster everything from games to parades.
Every Friday night the squad can be seen on the sidelines, cheering on the team, win or lose, good weather or bad. Standing behind the team, they can barely see what is going on in the game, but they are tasked with keeping fans involved and excited, while also maintaining good sportsmanship, sometimes a thankless job.
The Jaguar cheer team is coed and has 26 members. A small team compared to others in the state, but a good number to represent West Jordan High School.
“If we are invited (someplace), we love to go. We take pride in representing the school. They get good grades and are all good kids,” Lutes said.
The state cheer championships are scheduled for Jan. 27 at Utah Valley University. The state will award region and state championship trophies for the first time this school year.
“We will compete, this is a smaller team than most, but it is always fun,” Lutes said.
The team hosted its annual mini-cheer night at its final home game. Over 100 participated in the event. All children ages 4-12 were invited to participate. The cheerleaders taught participants three cheers and dances for performance at the football game on Friday night.
“We host a clinic in the fall and during basketball season. We teach the kids some cheers that we work on. It is a fundraiser to help our team. The girls use the money they raise to help pay fees and support the team,” Lutes said.
Parents lined the sideline to photograph and video their little cheerleaders. It is an event that many look forward to every season.
“So much fun for my girl,” one parent said.
The competition team includes Avery Gaskins, Gracie Hampton, Taylor Smith, Aaliyah Mccleve, Bry Faull, Lilleigh Andrus, Addy Chavis, Alyssa Palou, Kammree Anderson, Mallory Zander, Faith Kuhn and Kyra Ewen.
The sideline team is made up of Julia Cruz, Sarah Grennon, Evelyn Sanchez, Hailey Higgs, Kiersten Burke, Saydee Anderson, Kamila Cazares, Jayden Davis, Savannah Tew and Missy Cowley.
“Being a cheerleader is hard. It takes school spirit and leadership. They become leaders on the sideline and at the grocery store. The time commitment never stops,” Lutes said.
Competitive cheer sanctioning with the UHSAA was years in the making. At a typical cheerleading competition, teams perform routines with music that include stunts, jumps and tumbling. The teams are judged by a panel of experts on difficulty and execution.