Conant Coed Cheerleading places fifth at state
All photos were provided by the cheer coaches.
Conant Coed Cheer placed fifth at the State series despite the changes and challenges they faced as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Because cheerleading is a contact sport, IHSA regulations have changed the way the team competed. Under these new regulations, the team was mandated to stay six feet apart during the entire routine. Stunting, including pyramids and baskets, was also eliminated.
The team had to record their routine and submit their video for judging by a date specified by the competition hosts. The videos were then judged on Saturdays, with scores released within an hour of competing.
Head Coach Amanda Schweinebraten explained how the regulations affected their routine. “We had to think outside the box this year. We created this year’s theme, which is a throwback routine, by incorporating highlights from the last eight years, including props and our school mascot.”
While normally present at school assemblies and games, Cassius Cougar has not been choreographed into a routine before. This is something that set Conant Cheerleading apart this season. “We haven’t seen teams include their mascot in their routines,” Schweinebraten said.
The team also missed performing in person. Zalen Capriolo, ‘21, said, “Recording is different than being in person. It’s a lot easier and a lot more fun to perform in front of a crowd.”
Despite these restrictions, the team was able to bond while also staying safe. Head Coach Christina Schweinbraten-Melone said, “We were able to connect while we were at home through online scavenger hunts, color [themed practices] on specific days, and even ‘bring your pet’ to online practice. We were even able to view State together.”
Hannah Huynh, ‘21, said the team was grateful for their season and took advantage of it. “Even though it’s been tough, our spirit has been higher because we have a season compared to other sports, and it makes us motivated to represent our school. It made us grow closer as a team.”