Cheerleading season takes a tumble with postponement

Katie Abraham and Nolan Rachiele

Cheerleading has been a staple of the South sidelines for many years, but few follow their equally important competition season. Trying to improve upon last year’s successes, South’s cheerleaders are bracing themselves for a strenuous season filled with many hurdles to overcome, Cheerleading Coach Amanda Middleton said.

Trying to prepare for a competition season is harder with restrictions toward stunting, a skill performed by cheerleaders who make a base for the cheerleader on top to land onto during their performances, Middleton stated.

“We know that this pandemic has brought about a lot of stress and a lot of uncertainty with every sport, not just cheerleading,” Middleton said. “Sometimes it can be hard [with restrictions] but we really try to reframe the situation and change the way that we think about it.”

The Nov. 17 announcement from Gov. J.B. Pritzker and the Illinois High School Association (IHSA) that the winter sports season would be postponed until at least January was heartbreaking for the cheerleaders, according to junior Tess Durchin. The team was on their last day of tryouts when the postponement was announced, and Durchin said that the girls are still hopeful that there will be a season in the future.

“We’re all still trying to be super optimistic and hope that either some type of winter season happens or [South will play] football season in the spring,” Durchin said. “We have all put in a lot of hard work [and] all of us as a team were extremely sad we couldn’t even finish the last tryout day.”

Senior cheerleader Julia Maciuszek is working hard to prepare for the season, whenever it is slated to occur. Maciuszek hopes this upcoming campaign will still be memorable for her and the other seniors on the team despite the uncertainty surrounding it.

“All the seniors are really sad that this is how our senior year has turned out to be and that we can’t really get a normal season,” Maciuszek said. “Last year, if we knew that Covid-19 would have hit, I know that as juniors, we would have treated our season differently.”

In these times of uncertainty, nothing is as concrete as the team’s ability to stay on track with their goals, Middleton said. 

“Maybe we are not necessarily having contact with one another but we are focusing on other skills that were on the backburner last year, and we are finding new ways to stay active and to stay united as a team,” Middleton said.