EVART  — When Evart’s cheerleaders resume their season in January, seniors like Atlanta Deuel and Ashley French will be ready to put their best performances on the mat.

Deuel is in her sixth season with the competitive cheer program at Evart. Her sixth compared to her first year, “is a lot better,” especially working with her teammates, she said.

The third round, which features tumbling and mounts, is probably her team’s strongest, said Deuel, who is usually a base.

Cheer is her only sport.

“We scored high most of the time,” Deuel said, adding that the team has fared well in Highland Conference action.

Deuel is a transfer and won’t be eligible for Evart sports until January but will be a key member of coach Marty Pattee’s team.

Another senior is Ashley French, who has been in competitive cheer since seventh grade. She also runs track as a hurdler and sprinter.

“Competitive cheer is a lot more about teamwork, and getting better and striving for the team to get better,” she said. “Track is more for individuals.”

Both sports demand plenty of discipline she added. In cheer, French is a backstop.

“I hold the ankles in all the stunts and make sure thay my fliers don’t hit the floor at all,” she said. “You have to have a lot of timing with your stunt group. Your fliers have to have a lot of trust in you.”

French and the Wildcats hope to have a good season again in the Highland Conference.

“We’re very big rivals with Marion,” she said. “We like to beat them. It’s just a rivalry.”

French and the Wildcats were third in their division and first among Highland teams at the Houghton Lake Invitational on Dec. 14 to open the season.

“This team, I’m certain we’ll get past districts, go to regionals and do very well,” French said.