JOLIET, ILL.—A rollercoaster ride the past two weeks ultimately led to a less-than-ideal competition-season opener for the Kaneland cheerleaders. From a car accident to the flu, the squad was simply not at 100 percent.
Although they placed 11th out of 12 teams, the rest of the competition season looks promising.
“We’ve had a really rough past couple weeks, so to pull it together for competiton means a lot,” senior Nicole McClellan said after Sunday’s competition. “Four of our cheerleaders got in a roll-over car accident—including me—and three of them are (still) out. Last week we missed eight girls during the week, and this week we missed two girls (due to the flu).”
The girls in the accident are OK, confirmed coach Jennifer French.
But with so many athletes out, it meant a lot adjustments for those that were preparing for Sunday’s Cheerfest.
“We had to fix everything,” said McClellan. “It was a lot of work.”
French was pleased with the effort she saw from the girls that competed Sunday.
“We had some falls and touch downs, which caused us to have seven points worth of deductions,” French said. “Overall, I’m always proud of what these girls do. It takes a lot to get out on a mat in front of an entire field house full of people and perform.”
Senior Lexi Lund was excited for the beginning of the competition season.
“Football season is fun—it’s good to be involved with the school—but comptition (season) is definitely where us cheerleaders shine,” she said. “We practice every day instead of maybe twice or three times a week. Sundays or Saturdays we have all-day competitions, so it’s very time-consuming.”
McClellan echoed Lund’s sentiment about the competition season.
“We feel like a family together. We get so much closer to our girls, it’s just a lot more fun,” she said.
Looking ahead, the Knight cheerleaders have some time to prepare for their next competion, which takes place in Belvidere, Ill., on Jan. 10. The regular season ends at the DeKalb Sectional Jan. 31.
“There are plenty of things we will be working on for our January competitions, and I look forward to seeing the progress from this first competition to our last,” French said.
With only two seniors—Lund and McClellan—the team has promise this year and beyond.
“I feel like this team has a lot of potential to do really good this year, and even when we do leave, if they keep up their hard work and have their hearts in it, I feel that they will continuously get better,” Lund said. “I see a lot of improvement in the team, and I see them going far.”
Jan. 10: @ Belvidere
Jan. 18: Conference @ Sycamore
Jan. 25: @ Huntley
Jan. 31: Sectionals @ DeKalb