Competitive cheer teams start their seasons

EVART — Evart and Pine River’s competitive cheer teams are ready for another season.

Pine River opened earlier this month at the Houghton Lake Invitational. Evart was not at that meet, but made its debut on Dec. 19 at Shepherd and took third. Both teams will have a full slate of meets in January and February.

Evart coach Marty Pattee said she has 10 girls on her roster after having conducted tryouts.

Returning cheerleaders include Brooklyn Elenbaas, Erin Flowers, Loraine Foster and Chasity Nichols. Foster is a senior base and backspotter. Elenbaas and Nichols are bases and Elenbaas is a flier. Another senior, Shantelle Nicoletta, is cheering this year as a season’s absence.

“I think they should be a lot stronger,” Pattee said. “Those kids that are returners are definite leaders. We should be very strong vocally as well as with stunts, which is usually our strong suit. A lot of it will depend on how quick my newer, younger kids step up and take to the varsity level.”

There is no junior varsity team.

“They come straight from middle school to varsity,” Pattee said. “It’s a big transition.”

Pattee said rounds 1 and 3 will be the team’s best rounds. Round 3 features stunts, while Round 1 is a leadership cheer with jumps and motion precision, while round 2 features gymnastics.

“We’ll be stronger in Round 2 than we were last year,” Pattee said. “It will be an exciting year. There’s a lot of potential here.”

Emilie Crawford is coaching Pine River’s competitive cheer team which has 11 girls. She has two girls currently who can’t compete because of injuries and another who is ineligible via the transfer rule. She’s been practicing with her team since Nov. 10. She has two returning performers, Alivia Nelson and Vikki Moored.

“The rest are brand new, a lot are from the sideline season,” Crawford said. “So a lot of them are so brand new. They need to get a feel for what they’re doing. Since I’m short on girls, we won’t have a round 3, which is not uncommon for the first competition.”