Seymour cheerleaders finish competition season with top award


Sitting in a circle on the gymnasium floor at Charlestown High School, the Seymour High School cheerleaders anxiously waited to hear the results announced.

Finally, it was shared that they won best sideline and placed first in the game day division.

At the previous competition at Jeffersonville High School, they also had won the game day division.

Based on total points between the two competitions, Seymour finished at the top and won the ultimate champion award.

The girls leaped up from the floor and expressed their excitement.

“We actually joked about it at first when they were announcing ‘We have two winners,’ and we were like, ‘Imagine if they just said Seymour High School,’” senior Anna Marks said. “Then the person that was announcing goes ‘Seymour High School,’ and we all go ‘No way.’ We were all freaked out, and we were like, ‘Wow!’ That was amazing.”

It was quite the way to finish the second year of competition season after SHS had taken about nine years away from competing. At that time, Seymour had been a regular national champion.

Kennedi Brown, who coaches the team with Jenci Allman, said winning ultimate champion at the season finale was a surprise.

“I think they just brought it,” Brown said. “They knew what they needed to do, they were prepared and they’ve been working really, really hard this year, and they just knew that they needed to go out there and win it.”

Seymour returned to competing in the 2022-23 school year, which was Brown and Allman’s fourth year of coaching together. Both are former SHS cheerleaders.

“Cheerleading has evolved so much as far as the competitive aspect goes, and so it just took us some time to figure out how it was different from when we were in school and we had to fundraise to be able to pay for routines and get into competitions and stuff like that,” Brown said. “It just took a long time to have a squad that was going to be able to compete in the game day division.”

That division has four parts. One is band chant, which includes motions that go along with music that would be played by a band and also a chant within it. Second is a sideline, where the cheerleaders are prompted to call offense or defense. Third is a cheer, and fourth is the school song.

Those parts along with transitions have to be completed within 3 minutes.

“(Judges) are looking for crowd leading, motion technique, stunting abilities, and then of course, with game day, you are supposed to be very energetic, loud and your motions are supposed to be very, very sharp,” Brown said. “Then it’s just like which one is the most visually pleasing to the judges, essentially.”

During last school year’s season, Seymour placed first in its first competition, third in the second one and second in the final one.

“I was excited to try,” Aly East, who is now a senior, said of getting into competitive cheerleading for the first time last year.

“The coaches would talk about how they would compete back in their day, and then we were like, ‘Well, why don’t we try and bring it back,’ and so we did,” Marks said.

At the first competition, Marks said they were shocked to hear their names called for placing first.

“It was very nerve-racking because I never grew up competing, so getting on the mat and competing in front of all of those people, like all people know cheer and not just basketball or football audience, it was like a whole different setting, but it was really neat,” she said.

Brown said she and Allman were really impressed and really happy with how the girls performed.

“We had a younger team, and we felt like they were full of a lot of spirit and they had the capability of doing well,” Brown said. “That was our main thing. We didn’t want to put girls out on the competition floor that we thought they would maybe, one, not understand what they needed to do, and two, we just needed to kind of switch how we were coaching in order to prepare them. It all worked out.”

Seymour took that momentum into this past season.

“Our main goals were to just sharpen up our skills, really bring more spirit and just more crowd leading because that’s something that the girls can struggle with, and then as well just getting more elite skills,” Brown said.

At their first competition in Fishers, the girls placed second. Then they finished with back-to-back first-place finishes.

“I think from our experience, we helped the younger girls for ‘This is how it needs to be done,’ and I think they followed suit really well, and it led us to win. We all had one common goal, and all of us were looking to get there because we all worked really well together to get to that,” East said.

“The teamwork was very good, and everybody worked really well together,” Marks said. “Everybody took the criticism and stuff very well and the sportsmanship.”

The team’s other senior, Olivia Reinhart, agreed.

“I feel like the new girls did really well,” she said. “I feel like everybody just worked really well together.”

For Seymour, cheerleading is a year-round sport. Tryouts are in April, and then practices go from May to March. They cheer at football games in the fall and basketball games in the winter, and competitions are during those two seasons.

Considering all of the time and effort they put in, the seniors are proud of the squad for another successful season.

“We built these friendships and a family just building this,” Marks said.

“Some of my closest friends are on this team, so I think spending all of those hours working on it has also built so many of those friendships,” East said.

“I feel like I met so many new people and made new friendships and got to know people on a personal level,” Reinhart said.

While the seniors will be graduating in June, they are excited to see Seymour back in the competition world and look forward to what’s to come.

So are the coaches. Brown said at games, the cheerleaders are on the sideline to support the football and basketball teams. But at competitions, it’s their time to shine.

“This is a way for them to be able to display their skills and what they are capable of separate from that, and I think it’s really exciting for the girls because it’s almost like a way to prove or show off what they’ve been working so hard for,” Brown said. “It has brought a lot of buy-in to the girls. They enjoy cheering at games more now because they are getting to show off their skills with that, too. I’m really proud of them.”

Ultimately, the goal is for Seymour to return to the national competition, which is at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida. The squad earned a bid at the first competition this past season but isn’t able to go due to funding.

“Our goal next year now is to start fundraising now that we know that we can get a bid and we’re only losing three seniors,” Brown said. “We’re going to hit the ground running because it’s at minimum like $1,700 per girl because it’s at Disney, so I’m really hoping we can do that next year for the girls.”

Anyone interested in donating to the SHS cheerleading program can do so at any time by contacting Brown or Allman.

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