REED CITY — Reed City senior Courtney Morgan decided this would be the year she would try out for competitive cheer.

It was a decision that Reed City coach Amanda Powers enjoyed especially considering that Morgan is the only senior on the 14-member high school varsity team.

“I did football cheer and I decided I’d do competitive cheer, since I have nothing to do until softball,” said Morgan, a varsity pitcher with the Coyote softball program. “We started out with football cheer in August, when we started practicing. That flowed right into the competitive season.”

Morgan realized there would be adjustments going from sideline to competitive cheer.

“You have to be very precise and very stiff because they judge every little thing,” she said. “We’ve been pretty average. We definitely have room to improve. We can improve on our jumps and our stunts.”

Morgan usually serves as a base for stunts.

“We started (practice) a month before our first competition which was Dec. 21,” she said. “Some of the girls have never done the splits before and now we have them in round 2. We have a month and a half left.”

Morgan sees benefits from competitive cheer for her softball endeavors.

“It gets my strength up and my flexibility for my pitching,” said Morgan, who is working on her pitching three times a week during the winter.

Elisa Fasbender is a sophomore on the team, who has been involved in competitive cheer for six years. It’s her second varsity season.

“It’s going really good,” she said. “We’ve learned a lot. That’s a good thing about sports. We learn a lot about each other and have become like friends. We learn to communicate a lot more with each other.”

Fasbender usually serves as a backspotter.

“Even though we haven’t scored very well, I think we’ve all given it our best and there’s a lot of room for improvement,” she said. “I know our scores could be a lot higher than what we’re doing now. We’re doing pretty well, overall. There’s a lot of nit-picky things like your moves need to be stiffer, your stunt needs to go up smoother.”

Performing in front of fans can be nerve-racking, Fasbender admitted.

“It’s crazy, I’m so nervous when I go out there,” she said. “It’s scary when you get out there. But once you get on the mat, it’s like the best. It’s pure heaven.”