The Durant High School cheer team traveled to Tampa's King High School on Dec. 18 to participate in one of four regular season cheer competitions before competing in for the Western Conference title in the Hillsborough County championship.
The 20-member varsity team performed its routine for judges against nine other schools. Each team could have up to a 2.5-minute routine divided into a cheer and music section. Music sections can include main stunts, tumbling, pyramid formations, and dance.
"We have an established routine that we tweak along the way based on judges' feedback and things that I see that need improvement," said head coach Jessica Brower, who has coached the team for five years.
Building a strong team, though, sometimes requires more than establishing and perfecting a routine. Brower spoke of some of the ways she helps to build camaraderie and reduce stress before competitions.
"We always have a little pep talk before they go on just to calm their nerves," she said. "We get in a circle, sing a song, and then they have a little saying that pumps them up."
This year, Durant High School is hosting the Western Conference competition. Brower said that the team is looking forward to showcasing its routine that has taken months of practice to accomplish.
"The girls are really excited," she said, "They have worked hard and put forth a lot of effort toward perfecting our routine."