Under The Friday Night Lights

The+Milford+cheer+team+cheers+on+their+Mavericks+under+the+lights.
The Milford cheer team cheers on their Mavericks under the lights.

The Milford cheer team cheers on their Mavericks under the lights.

Brooke Davis

Brooke Davis

The Milford cheer team cheers on their Mavericks under the lights.

Clémence Daniere, Feature Staff Writer

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Every Friday night, Milford High School students excitedly gather in the bleachers to support their favorite football team under the bright lights. It’s one of the most anticipated events of the week where everyone is dressed up, the spirits are high, people are screaming their hearts out, and right beside them, so are the cheerleaders.

Brooke Davis
The Milford cheer team cheers on their Mavericks under the lights.

For months now, the Milford Cheer team has been practicing five days a week for over three hours each time while putting in their all to make themselves the best cheerleaders around. The 20 girls work hard to improve their skills and stunts that they perform on the sidelines during breaks and at halftime.

“I love the high spirit and cheering on the football players every Friday night,” said junior Sabrina Sajdak, who has been a part of the cheer team for two years. Their electrifying chants involve the crowd and everyone coming together creates an incredible energy.

To support the football team, the cheerleaders have a system called “football buddies” in which girls provide gifts to certain football players. Those little gifts give the football players extra motivation and make them feel appreciated.

Brooke Davis
Sabrina Sajdak (left), Calli Manolakas (middle), and Courtney Fortin (right), get the crowd excited for the game.

“To hear them in the background on the sidelines no matter the score is really uplifting,” said junior football player, Mike Smith. Obviously, supporting the football team is the main focus of the cheer team, but beyond the sidelines, there is so much more.

Before regular practices began, the team attended the North American Spirit Camp this summer.  3-day camp, the girls had activities and practice from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. with only an hour long break per meal. Those long hours pushed the girls to work together even when they were exhausted, and they came out stronger and better.

Overall, the camp taught them valuable new skills and stunts to spice up their performance. Their incredible energy even earned them the “spirit award”, an award that is given to the most determined and eager-to-learn team.

Brooke Davis
Michaela Kilano (top), Katherine Dittrick, Courtney Fortin, and Bella Reynolds (left to right), perform a stunt.

While many people claim cheer is simply rooting on the “real” athletes there are so many aspects and work that goes into the sport. Cheer is just as much a sport than anything else; the athletes put in the same work, if not more, and it clearly shows through their amazing performance.

With homecoming approaching soon, the team has been putting in even more work to bring their best performance to the homecoming assembly. They upped their practices to 6 days per week and for longer each time.

“The girls are working hard and pushing their limits in their skills because we really want to bring a wow factor and excitement to the performance,” head coach Patti Warzecha said. She also described the routine as a “whole new side of cheer that is more expressive and carefree and not so rigid in the technique.”

Only two weeks after sideline season ends, competitive season begins. After recently joining a new league, the Lakes Valley Conference (LVC), the team is more hopeful because they are now equally matched to the other teams they were competing against.

“I feel like the incoming girls right now are stronger coming in than the girls from a few years back,” said Warzecha. “The girls’ willingness and effort that they put inside and outside of practice will carry them through the season.”

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