Published at 12:10 am on Friday, January 27, 2023
LITTLE CYPRESS – It’s an exciting start to 2023 for the Cypress-Mauriceville Junior cheer team, which placed second at the UIL State Spirit Tournament in Fort Worth.
“There was a lot of excitement and satisfaction for them for what they accomplished,” coach Brandy Cricchio said.
The 22-member team competed in Class 4A against 49 teams in the first preliminary round, showing their passion for the school. Teams are judged on their ability to make match day an exciting and engaging event for fans.
The competition consists of three categories: group song, crowd leader and fight song, and the top 20 teams in each category advance to the final round, the state championship.
“Making second in state is definitely a big accomplishment and an experience our team will never forget,” said Paige Brown, senior cheerleader and head cheerleader. “This season, our team has been hardworking and full of talent, so it was great to be able to perform in the usual way and even better to be rewarded with second place.”
Junior Brooklyn Elliot heard the announcers calling the top 10 teams and started to feel nervous.
“But I knew we just went out on the floor and did the best thing we’ve done all year,” he said.
Elliot said that when more teams were announced, the expectations increased.
“When the announcers called ‘Orange Little Cypress Mauriceville High School’ as runner-up, I was scared,” she said. It was the most amazing feeling. The feeling of all the hard work we’ve put in is paying off.”
The girls learned the routine in August and have been practicing for the competition ever since.
“We worked countless hours, five days a week, during our breaks and sometimes on weekends,” Elliot said. “The moves were very difficult and draining, but 100 percent deserved the win.”
The team finished sixth in last year’s competition, and they were very happy, but Cricchio said they had set their sights on a medal this year.
“They worked tirelessly for 5-1/2 months through injuries and illness to achieve that goal,” she said. “These women were very gracious and humbled to place second in the state. The silver medal they received was like a gold medal. There were tears of joy and satisfaction at what they accomplished.”
The UIL State Spirit Tournament, according to Cricchio, is the equivalent of winning a state football championship.
“They get the same trophy and medals, to come in second place and get the silver medal and the trophy was the proudest moment for any of us,” Criccio said.
For anyone who questions whether or not the leaders are true “players,” Cricchio says come see them at work.
“These players are some of the most disciplined and strongest young people I’ve seen in any sport,” she said. : Not only do they have to lift a 100 pound or more human into the air, they have to do it while screaming, jumping and keeping up with all the moves. In addition, they also stumble during their daily activities, be it standing or running.
Cheerleading is a passion for these girls. Winning is just a piece of cake.
“I like being a cheerleader, because there’s nothing like the adrenaline rush when you’re performing in front of a crowd,” Brown said. “I’ve been on stage in cheerleading for 12 years and the feeling never gets old. I love seeing the whole community come together to support our school district. It’s an amazing feeling.”
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